Freddie Sears relishes the prospect of facing Norwich City in the play-offs

Freddie Sears celebrates his 83rd minute winner against Nottingham Forest. Photo: Sarah Lucy Brown

Freddie Sears celebrates his 83rd minute winner against Nottingham Forest. Photo: Sarah Lucy Brown - Credit: sarah lucy brown

Freddie Sears is licking his lips at the prospect of an East Anglian derby match-up in the Championship play-offs, insisting he was ‘made for’ the big stage.

The striker is increasingly looking like one of the season’s best bargain buys, having now scored nine goals for Ipswich Town following his £100k mid-season switch from Essex neighbours Colchester United.

His latest came in Saturday’s 2-1 home win over Nottingham Forest, an 83rd minute winner meaning the Blues now head into their season finale at Blackburn on Saturday (12.15pm) knowing that a draw would guarantee them participation in what has been dubbed the £140m end of the season lottery.

As it stands, fifth-place Ipswich would face fourth-place Norwich (who were held to a 1-1 draw at Rotherham on Saturday) in a two-legged semi-final. The prospect of such a high stakes occasion may fill many supporters with dread – Town having lost to the Canaries twice this season – but Sears relishes the thought.

“I have just moved house and my next door neighbour is a Norwich fan so there has been a bit of banter between us,” revealed the 25-year-old, who burst on to the season with Premier League side West Ham but had to drop down to League One in order to rebuild his career.

“I played in the derby game up there and I know how much it means to people here. I have played in West Ham/Millwall derby games, which are pretty intense, but I know how big Ipswich/Norwich is.

“It would be great for both teams if we met in the play-offs, so I would look forward to that.

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“It would be nice to shut my neighbour up! He has had the bragging rights for a while, so I would love to get one over on them.

“He has wished us well, and I wish them well, but we need to get into the play-offs first.”

Sears, whose fantastic big man, little man partnership with Daryl Murphy is a real football throw back, continued: “Me and Murph have clicked straight away. I realised from our first game together we have a good understanding and it has come on leaps and bounds since then.

“I’m loving it here. Playing in front of 25,000 people is what I have wanted for a couple of years. No disrespect to Colchester, who are playing in front of four to five thousand, but this is what I was made for and I’m loving it. I’m totally buzzing and enjoying my football.

“I love the fans here, they are great and it really means a lot to me that they have taken to me.”

He added: “There are four teams (Derby, Ipswich, Wolves and Brentford) fighting for those last two play-off places still. We have one foot in them but we need to get both in there.

“It will be tough at Blackburn but we need to go there looking to win. If we just go there for a draw anything could happen. Our best form of defence is attack.”

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