Big match preview: Ipswich Town v Norwich City – Everything you need to know
Tomorrow is East Anglian derby day. STUART WATSON previews the action as Ipswich Town prepare to take on rivals Norwich City at Portman Road (12pm ko, Sky Sports).
Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy has assured supporters he knows exactly what the East Anglian derby means to them ahead of tomorrow’s lunchtime clash with Norwich City at Portman Road (12pm ko).
Town have not beaten the Canaries since Jim Magilton’s men triumphed 3-2 at Portman Road in 2009. There were a pair of painful thrashings in the 2010/11 campaign, while under McCarthy’s management there have been three draws and three defeats – including a two-legged play-off semi-final final exit in 2015. Both games ended 1-1 last season.
“I was asked this morning ‘does it rankle that I’ve not beaten them yet?’,” said McCarthy. “Trust me, I don’t carry every result around of who I’ve not beaten.
“But, bearing in mind it’s a while since we’ve won this derby and we lost our last home game to Bristol City, I think we do owe the fans a performance. It would be pivotal to win.
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“All I know is they’ll see me in a really good light if we win. Let’s leave it at that shall we?”
He continued: “It’s not just three points in terms of what it means to everybody, but I’ve never been given four points for winning one.
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“I’m not stupid, I picked up what it means to everyone ahead of the first time we played them. I’ve been in the game long enough to know what derbies mean to everyone.
“The fact that not everybody at my club, at Ipswich, were born and brought up here doesn’t mean we aren’t fully aware of what it means to fans.
“That’s what the game is about, the fans who come and support. Without the fans we’d be goosed.
“I was at the club golf day the other day and it was the elephant in the room. You know somebody wants to come and speak to you about the game and say ‘you’ve got to win’ and ‘if you win only one game this season make it this one’. They say ‘make sure you give them a good team talk’ and all the rest of it.
“I get it. That just emphasises to me what it means to the fans who come and watch us play.
“It would be important to me whoever we are playing though. And don’t underestimate my feelings for derbies either because I’ve played in a lot and I’ve managed in a lot. The strength of feeling never surprises me.”
Asked if he felt the gap in quality between the two squads had narrowed over the past two years, McCarthy replied: “I don’t look at them. I look at my own team and try and get the best out of them. I’m not interested in anybody else’s squad to be quite honest. I certainly don’t compare.
“I just get my players, work with them and try and get the best out of them. I don’t look at around at other club’s players. I just don’t.”
A new-look Norwich started the season poorly under German head coach Daniel Farke but head into this game unbeaten in eight.
“I don’t see great changes in terms of the way they are playing,” said McCarthy. “They’ve looked pretty solid and organised off the ball I have to say.
“Their results have picked up and they’ve got some good players. They’ve still got those parachute payments coming in which they’ve spent over two or three years – some it’s worked, some of it hasn’t and they are still in the same league as I am.”
Asked if the fact his team has a lot more experience of the East Anglian derby would make a difference, the Blues boss replied: “I hope it does, I hope it sways the game in our favour. The game is so cosmopolitan now though and I don’t think it matters to footballers. All they want to do is win. “They might just get that little sense that it means that little bit more for the fans, for the club and for the area though.
“I see them in training flying into each other. They don’t need a reason to try and win a football match.”
He added: “I don’t want bad tackles and people getting sent-off, that’s quite clearly not the objective. You want people to be fired up, but they also need to concentrate and when all the madness is going on around you they need to be able to pass the ball and control the ball and do things the right way.
“I do want a competitive team though. Every team I’ve ever put out I’ve wanted to be competitive.
“If we can replicate some of our early performances from this season then we’ll be in good shape.”
Captain Ivo Pinto was asked about Blues skipper Luke Chambers responding to Canaries striker Nelson Oliveira’s ‘better club’ jibe by pointing out the three stars on Town’s shirt (indicating First Division, FA Cup and UEFA Cup glory).
He said: “Yes, we saw those comments a little bit. This happens when you play this game.
“I don’t know if he (Chambers) is a bit nervous. We’ll wait for Sunday and see who is the better team. I said we are the better team. I didn’t say we are the better club. I feel we have the better quality but we have to show that inside the game. It is normal, we know Nelson.
“He is a passionate guy who had just scored that special goal and he then gives an interview. It was normal for him to say that. I don’t think it was a bad thing. He just wants to win. He feels we are better but he knows we have to show it. It is not a big storm. We don’t need to make a big storm of that.
“Nelson is a passionate guy. When you score an unbelievable, emotional equaliser in the 96th minute and then 10 minutes or so later you are asked questions when you still have goosebumps and feel that passion. Maybe he was too emotional but that is what we all want to see.
“You can be sure I am full of respect for this derby and all my players are.
“We know it will be a hard task, a big struggle. For sure, he is one of our players and it is normal he feels he is totally at the right club. I am convinced I am at the right club.
“We are looking forward to playing this game and to prove we are the better team.
“It was perhaps a little bit emotional but not disrespectful. He is a good guy, he knows there are good players at Ipswich and Mick McCarthy is an experienced coach. But we want to win this game.”
Team name: Norwich City
Manager: Daniel Farke (May ‘17) P15 W8 D4 L3
Position last season: 8th in Championship
Last game: D 1-1 Hull (h)
Top-scorer: Nelson Oliveira (5)
Most assists: James Maddison (2)
Biggest league win in 17/18: 2-0 QPR (h)
Biggest league loss in 17/18: 4-0 Millwall (a)
Most league starts: Angus Gunn (12), Christoph Zimmermann (11), James Maddison (9).
• Overall East Anglian derby record reads: Ipswich 40 wins, Draws 20, Norwich wins 39
• The last time Town beat Norwich was April 2009 (3-2 at home)
• Only three of Norwich last starting line-up have derby experience – Ivo Pinto, Timm Klose and Cameron Jerome
Ipswich Town team news
• Striker Joe Garner missed last Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at Sheffield United with a swollen knee. Blues boss Mick McCarthy said: “He’s trained today (Friday), not with us, but he’s been out with the physios and done what he needed to do to have a chance of playing.” • Midfielder Tom Adeyemi has missed the last two games with a hamstring problem. McCarthy said: “He’s trained really well for the last two days. I think he’s passing himself fit to be involved.” • Tommy Smith has suffered back spasms and may not be fit to feature. • Central midfield quartet Emyr Huws (Achilles), Teddy Bishop (groin), Luke Hyam (knee) and Andre Dozzell (knee) remain sidelined.
Norwich City team news
• Outspoken Portuguese striker Nelson Oliveira has been managing a groin injury and may only be fit enough for the bench.
• German midfielder Marcos Stiepermann (calf) and winger Josh Murphy (toe) both come back into contention for the Canaries. • Alex Tettey (calf), Russell Martin (abductor), Steven Naismith (ankle), Alex Pritchard (ankle), Jamal Lewis (knee), Louis Thompson (Achilles), Matt Jarvis (leg) and Marley Watkins (suspended) are all out.
Key opposition man
James Maddison The 20-year-old former Coventry man has looked a class act in the No.10 role. He scored stunning goals at Middlesbrough and Reading to be nominated for September’s Championship Player of the Month.
Tim Robinson (West Sussex) Games: 15, yellows: 43, Reds: 7
Ipswich Town (27/11) Draw (13/5) Norwich City (11/8)
Norwich City 1 Ipswich Town 1
Date: February 26, 2017
Jonas Knudsen scored in the East Anglian derby once again (63), but the wait for regional bragging rights went on after Jacob Murphy’s equaliser (69). Norwich led at Portman Road through Cameron Jerome’s goal (26) before Knudsen’s leveller (45).
Ipswich Town 2 Norwich City 1
Town’s best shot at derby glory in years. They can edge this.