'Our best chance in years' - Ex-Blues boss previews the East Anglian derby
PUBLISHED: 07:00 18 October 2017
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Ipswich Town legend George Burley believes the Blues have their best chance of winning an East Anglian derby in years at Portman Road this Sunday lunchtime (12pm ko).
Town haven’t beaten rivals Norwich City since a 3-2 home win in 2009. Since then there have been five defeats and three draws – including two 1-1 stalemates last season.
The new-look Canaries started this campaign poorly under German boss Daniel Farke, but are now unbeaten in eight. They look tight at the back, but are struggling for goals.
Town started the season superbly, but have now lost five of their last seven in the league. They are among the league’s leading scorers, but have conceded plenty too.
Just a point separates the sides in the Championship table – Norwich eighth and Town 10th with a game in hand.
“I think the two teams are as evenly matched as they have been in a long time,” said former Blues defender and manager Burley.
“Both sets of fans are probably still unsure of what direction their teams are heading in so this game carries extra importance in that sense.
“Nobody can call a winner in this one, but I definitely think we have got our best chance for a long time. We’ve got the players to hurt them.”
Burley continued: “As a manager you always worry going into these games because you know a defeat can really dampen the mood, but if you win it can really ignite everybody.
“Ipswich have seen attendances dropping steadily for some time now, so a derby win would really help.”
With Canaries striker Nelson Oliveira having already lit the blue touchpaper with his comments that Norwich are a ‘better club’, Burley said: “He’s come from Portugal, what does he know? Has he actually looked at Ipswich Town’s record as a club and compared it to Norwich’s?
“It’s embarrassing really. We won the FA Cup, UEFA Cup and were in Europe for so many years. He’s just talking nonsense.”
Speaking after last Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at Sheffield United, Blues boss Mick McCarthy – who hasn’t had a great deal of derby joy during his 25-year managerial career – said: “It’s a huge game. It’ll be exciting for everybody if we win and it will be bloody horrible if we lose.”