Darrens have the scoring touch

THERE is something about being a Darren and scoring in derby games at Carrow Road.The last Norwich player to score against Ipswich in the Norfolk stronghold was Darren Eadie - six and a half years ago.

THERE is something about being a Darren and scoring in derby games at Carrow Road.

The last Norwich player to score against Ipswich in the Norfolk stronghold was Darren Eadie - six and a half years ago.

Darren Bent was the last player to score in a derby match at Norwich when he knocked in the second in the 2-0 win a year ago.

And if the crowing Canaries and the bookmakers are to be believed, Darren Huckerby will be the next to score in the cross-county encounter.

That is unless Bent can repeat his goal heroics and end his personal drought of just one goal in 15 games.

He said: “Hopefully the next Darren to score at Carrow Road will be me.”

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The England Under-21 striker has had better luck at international level but knows that no excuses will wash with boss Joe Royle.

He said: “As strikers you are expected to score and as a forward himself the Gaffer knows what you should be doing.

“He has played for England so he knows what is expected and that is why he gives us a hard time if we are not doing it.

“Even if we concede goals we get the blame and the pressure is on us to score even more goals to make up for it. We have to keep plugging away and they will start to flow.”

Although he has not been hitting the back of the net as much as he would like, Bent has been weighing in with the assists, especially for Ian Westlake.

Bent said: “As a striker you want to be scoring but the main thing is the team is winning.

“It is Westy's turn to set me up again. He laid one on for me against Derby but that was months ago and ever since I have been providing for him.”

While the three points at stake is the most important thing in terms of promotion hopes for both sides, Bent knows local pride is a massive factor.

He said: “The Norwich derby is the big one that everyone wants to win. If we can beat Norwich then the fans will forget some of the other bad results from this season. This is the one that matters.

“It is also important because they are 11 points ahead of us. They have been on a good run. We can start pegging them back by getting three points on Sunday.

“That could start them on a run of losing games and us on a winning run again. Hopefully we can get off to a good start - too often away from home we start poorly - and then we can turn them over.”

Eadie, who has had to retire from football due to injury, is convinced Norwich's long drought will come to an end tomorrow.

Eadie was generally in the thick of the action as the Canaries reeled off five successive home victories over Ipswich during the mid-1990s - and set them on their way to their most recent success with one of his favourite strikes in a City shirt.

Since that 2-1 victory at the start of the 1997-98 season there have been precious few magic moments for Norwich fans in home games against the old enemy.

Two dull goalless draws followed, and things went from bad to worse last season when Town came away with a well- deserved 2-0 success to deal a major blow to their East Anglian rivals' play-off ambitions.

It's a curious sequence when set against City's excellent record at Portman Road in recent years. But Eadie fully expects another City hero to emerge when the two sides meet again in tomorrow's high-noon encounter - and wouldn't be at all surprised if the individual concerned was also called Darren.

“I can't believe I'm the last Norwich player to score in a derby at Carrow Road - but I don't think I'll hold that record after Sunday's game.

“I just can't see any other result but a Norwich victory. To me they are just a much better team. Ipswich aren't nearly as strong as they were a couple of seasons ago, especially at the back, and I don't think they will be able to cope with the pace of Darren Huckerby up front.”

Ipswich defender Jason Cundy gave the Canaries a helping hand in their last Carrow Road success, turning the ball into his own net to make the score 2-0 before on-loan striker Mark Stein grabbed a late consolation.


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