Andy Marshall would like to see Ipswich Town and Norwich City in the Premier League

Andy Marshall celebrates an Ipswich goal against Norwich

Andy Marshall celebrates an Ipswich goal against Norwich

He’s played on both sides of the divide, but former goalkeeper Andy Marshall would love to see Ipswich Town and Norwich City in the Premier League.

The 40-year-old, who is now working in the top-flight as a development coach with Aston Villa, made 65 appearances for Ipswich Town, having started his career with Norwich, for whom he represented on 219 occasions.

Marshall, a veteran of eight derbies, played in the Premier League with the Blues but admits the difference between then and now is like ‘night and day’ as the East Anglian rivals prepare for the second-leg of their play-off semi-final with the score level at 1-1.

“I was really hoping Norwich were going up automatically and I really hoped that Ipswich would make the play-offs,” said Marshall.

“It would be phenomenal if one of them made it to the Premier League, it provides an extra buzz and brings new income into the area.

“I am sure if Norwich go up they will look to improve Carrow Road and I am sure the same would be true at Portman Road, that was always David Sheepshanks’ vision when he was Ipswich chairman.”

The prize for winning the play-offs is estimated to be around the £150m mark, given the new TV deal that the Premier League struck for the start of the 2016/17 season, and Marshall predicts the top-flight juggernaut will continue to gather pace.

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“It shows no sign of slowing down, it’s massively exciting and it really is night and day from when I played there,” he added.

“The games are broadcast across the world and, without a doubt, it’s a complete phenomenon.

“I was speaking to (Aston Villa’s American owner) Randy Lerner this week and he said there was nothing like the Premier League or FA Cup.

“The US has the NFL with all the exposure and money, but he admitted it’s nothing compared to the Premier League.”

In the current top-flight, two of last season’s promoted clubs, Burnley and QPR have been relegated but Leicester look like making a great escape.

Marshall believes both Ipswich and Norwich would require some sort of investment if they made the Promised Land.

“If you look at the two squads you’d say that Ipswich would probably need the bigger investment, but that’s not to say Norwich wouldn’t, given how quick the Premier League moves on,” he explained, prior to Saturday’s first-leg.

“I am not sure you would need wholesale changes. It’s looking like Burnley may go down this year but they will look to consolidate and then challenge again.”

Given the magnitude of this East Anglian derby, is Marshall edging towards one camp or the other?

“I’m sitting firmly on the fence!” he admitted,

“I had good times at both clubs and played for both at pivotal parts of my career.

“The game is one for the fans and if you can be lucky enough to play in a derby, it’s a fantastic occasion.

“The derbies usually have a bit more spice but, with what’s on offer this time, nothing will come close to these two games.

“They will be the biggest East Anglian derby games in history.”

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