Facing Norwich City early maximises Ipswich Town’s chances of revenge, says Burley

Tempers flare towards the end of an East Anglian derby.

Tempers flare towards the end of an East Anglian derby. - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Former Ipswich Town boss George Burley believes facing Norwich City early in the season will give the Blues the best possible shot at revenge.

The fixtures for the newly-branded English Football League were announced yesterday, with all eyes on when the East Anglian derby matches would be, following the Canaries’ relegation from the Premier League.

Fans won’t have to wait long for the rivalry to resume, Alex Neil’s men are at Portman Road in the fourth Championship game of the campaign – on Saturday, August 20 – with the reverse match, at Carrow Road, not until Saturday, February 25.

Town historically were always the team with more to shout about, but it’s been their Norfolk neighbours who have enjoyed bragging rights in recent years with five wins and a draw in the last six meetings – including two thumping victories in 2010/11 and play-off success in 2015 – as well as four years in the top-flight.

“There is definitely a score to settle and I think it’s good to catch them at Portman Road early on because they will still be adjusting to life back in the Championship – hopefully we can get a little bit of revenge,” said Burley, the last man to get Town promoted, back in 2000 via the play-offs.

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With the Blues looking to build on last season’s finish of seventh, in what will be their 15th successive season in the Championship, Burley continued: “I think last year showed that it’s not all about money in the Championship. Teams that come down from the Premier League don’t always go straight back up, regardless of how much money they get from Sky.

“The one team that stands out, of course, is Newcastle. Last time they were in the Championship they won the league quite easily. Whether that happens again I don’t know, but you wouldn’t bet against it.

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“Regarding Aston Villa and Norwich – personally I don’t think it’s going to be easy for them. Being relegated with a big wage bill poses its problems and if teams have invested in foreign players they can find it tough to adjust to Championship football.”

He added: “The division looks as competitive as ever and it won’t be easy for Ipswich, but I think fans have got to stop worrying about what the club is or isn’t spending on players. Mick (McCarthy) brought some good young players through towards the end of last season and that’s the way forward. Add them to the top-class pros at the club and that could be a recipe for success.”

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