Become a legend – Ex-Ipswich Town striker Alex Mathie knows that East Anglian derby day heroes are never forgotten

Alex Mathie celebrates with Matt Holland.

Alex Mathie celebrates with Matt Holland. - Credit: Archant

Write yourself into Ipswich Town folklore.

That’s the message from former Blues striker Alex Mathie to the current crop of players ahead of Sunday’s eagerly-anticipated East Anglian derby match at Carrow Road (2.05pm ko, Sky Sports).

The stakes are high given that both teams, already fierce regional rivals, are vying for promotion to the Premier League at the business end of the season.

Ipswich made it three wins from four with a 4-2 home triumph over Birmingham City on Tuesday night, moving up to third in the table, while the Canaries made it five straight wins under new boss Alex Neil, their come-from-behind 2-1 victory at Blackburn keeping them a point behind Town.

Mathie, who is remembered fondly for his hat-trick in Town’s 5-0 derby demolition of Norwich in 1998, said: “It’s the biggest East Anglian derby in a long time isn’t it? And these Ipswich players should be looking at this match as their chance to write themselves into the club’s folklore.

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“After I scored that derby hat-trick my next door neighbour came round, handed me a bottle of whiskey and said ‘thanks for making me happy for the next six months’.

“That was 17 years ago and still people mention it today.

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“Being the hero against Norwich never gets forgotten by the fans.

“I can’t see anyone scoring a hat-trick on Sunday, but you fancy Ipswich to score at some stage given their threat at set-pieces and the form of the front two (Daryl Murphy and Freddie Sears).”

Mathie continued: “Everyone knows what a fantastic job Mick McCarthy has done with Ipswich, while Norwich are obviously hitting top form under Alex Neil.

“This is a really tough game to predict, too close to call, but obviously I’m hoping for an Ipswich win.

“It’s on the day – whoever wants it more. It could come down to one piece of magic, a slice of luck or a good tactical switch.”

– See today’s EADT and Ipswich Star for the thoughts of Ipswich Town reporter Stuart Watson and Norwich City correspondent Paddy Davitt.

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