Green ready to renew rivalry

ANDY Marshall's old rival and old friend Robert Green will shut out the abuse the Ipswich keeper knows he will get at Carrow Road on Sunday, writes Derek Davis.

ANDY Marshall's old rival and old friend Robert Green will shut out the abuse the Ipswich keeper knows he will get at Carrow Road on Sunday, writes Derek Davis.

Marshall is philosophical about the reception he knows he will get when he returns to Norwich for the first time since making his free transfer move in the summer of 2001.

And win or lose, Green will share a drink with his old Canaries colleague in the players' lounge after the game.

Although Blues boss Joe Royle has not confirmed who will be in goal, the EADT revealed earlier in the week the experienced stopper is almost certain to get the nod ahead of 20-year-old James Pullen, who did not enjoy the best of games in his Ipswich league debut against Grimsby.

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But Green is not bothered who is in the opposite goal on Sunday.

He said: "A lot of people are talking about it but it's got nothing to do with us. We'll just be concentrating on making sure we're properly prepared.

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"Obviously there's a lot of local pride at stake but it's also a vital game for both sides. It's got that added bit of spice to it because both sides desperately need the points to keep up their challenge for the play-offs. It will be all guns blazing come one o'clock on Sunday and I'm really looking forward to it."

Green also knows that there is nothing anyone can do that will make Marshall's reception any more pleasant.

"I'm sure there's nothing I can say that will change their minds in any way whatsoever. It's something that was going to happen sooner or later when he moved to Ipswich.

"Andy is a good goalkeeper who was here for a long time and gave some good service to the club. But he's joined Ipswich and that's the deciding factor for the fans possibly. If he plays it's down to them how they react and what sort of reception they give him – and it should only add to the atmosphere.

"But whatever happens I'll have a drink with Andy afterwards. He's a good friend and I speak to him whenever I can. I try and catch him on a good day when they've won and we've won.

"Hopefully I'll be the one with a smile on my face on Sunday afternoon."

While Marshall has struggled at times to keep his place in the Town goal, the man who replaced him at Norwich has been a virtual ever-present and has earned a series of rave reviews.

Green will be making his third appearance against Town, having made his full league debut against them as a 19-year-old back on April 11, 1999 when Marshall was suspended.

Marshall was the fans' choice as Player of the Year in his final season with the Canaries and made a total of 219 appearances for the club. His home debut came in a famous 2-1 win over Newcastle United on December 31, 1994, when he was given a standing ovation for his heroic efforts.

He knows things will be different this time. Both Town keepers are keeping their heads down this week and as they did in the first derby game, saving their talking until after the game.

Speaking last week before the Grimsby match, Marshall looked ahead to the derby and said: "If I'm playing I know I will get a hostile reception. I am not naïve enough to think otherwise.

"I know I upset an awful lot of people in Norwich, but hopefully there will still be a few who will chat to me.

"I am under no illusions about going back. I know I caused a lot of grief among supporters, but being voted Player of the Year means I must have done something right.

"I signed for Ipswich because I wanted Premiership football, a bigger contract and a better career.

"I know people like Nigel Worthington and Steve Foley don't hold anything against me, and I still have a lot of friends on the playing staff.

"Supporters may think I misled them, but that is not the case. They may have wanted me to stay, but I made my decision.

"I know I'm not the most popular person around the place, but that Player of the Year trophy is still my most prized possession."

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