Derby games on Sunday

IPSWICH Town's eagerly-awaited local derby clashes with Norwich City have both been switched to Sunday kick-offs.The first chance of establishing East Anglian dominance in the Championship campaign comes at Portman Road on September 18, with the return at Carrow Road on February 5.

By Dave Vincent

IPSWICH Town's eagerly-awaited local derby clashes with Norwich City have both been switched to Sunday kick-offs.

The first chance of establishing East Anglian dominance in the Championship campaign comes at Portman Road on September 18, with the return at Carrow Road on February 5.

Both have mid-day kick-offs, which will assist the police forces in Suffolk and Norfolk to control capacity attendances.

Neither of the two games has attracted the interest of Sky TV, who yesterday announced their latest list of matches to be screened live.

Town so far only figure once, their trip to Reading in October having been moved from a Saturday to Sunday, October 16, with a 1.30pm kick-off.

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The Town players reported back for duty yesterday at the Rushmere training centre, beginning with the traditional run and then an exercise, agility and flexibility session with fitness coach Simon Thadani and the coaching team outside in the sun. There was even boxercise with gloves and pads.

The workload was split into morning and late afternoon sessions and players will also swim over the weekend as part of an extensive programme.

Every player will be individually assessed, weighed and measured with full pre-season training beginning on Monday.

New strike duo Nicky Forster and Sam Parkin were training alongside each other and Town fans will hope they hit it off just as quickly on the pitch.

Both players were in considerable demand and chose to come to Ipswich, having been persuaded by Royle, ahead of other clubs.

Skipper Jim Magilton, French midfielder Jimmy Juan and forward Dean McDonald had further talks with Royle yesterday and are expected to sign new deals, along with Dutch defender Fabian Wilnis.

Although the new Championship season doesn't kick-off until August 6, when Cardiff City are the visitors to Portman Road, there are some mouth-watering attractions in pre-season.

There are glamour friendlies against Scottish champions Glasgow Rangers on Tuesday, July 19 and Spanish giants Atletico Madrid are the visitors on Friday, July 29.

Royle said: “It's a great double bill - two fantastic home games - for us and the fans. These fixtures should have great appeal.”

Rangers fans have already been snapping up tickets for their trip over the border.

There was an air of cheerful confidence as the players clocked in for another season, with stalwarts Magilton, Richard Naylor and Wilnis leading the way among a mainly young squad.

Royle made a point of raising the confidence of teenager Dean Bowditch, following the signings of Parkin and Forster.

Royle said: “Dean is ready to challenge for a place in attack and score goals for us. He can play wide or down the middle and gives us the option of playing with three forwards if required as well.”

Scott Barron and Scott Mitchell were back in training following their operations and Town's FA Youth Cup winners were also out in force.

david.vincent@eadt.co.uk

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