HE knows it may hurt Ipswich Town fans to hear it, but manager Paul Jewell admits old enemies Norwich City are being used as a blueprint for success this season.
Blues fans, who have seen their side stagnate in the Championship for the last decade, have looked on with reluctant envy at their Norfolk neighbours this season as they enjoy life back in the Premier League.
An encouraging set of similarities between Paul Lambert’s back-to-back promotion winners and Jewell’s new-look outfit are slowly beginning to emerge though.
“I don’t like to mention Norwich too much because I know people don’t like it,” said Jewell.
“I went to a couple of their games last year and they had something going. They’d got the crowd on side, a real noisy atmosphere, you could just sense the belief.
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“I don’t want to go as far as saying we want to emulate them because I know I’d get lynched. We are similar type clubs though and we want that feel good factor they had last season.”
The Canaries started their League One title winning campaign with a heavy 7-1 defeat to fellow East Anglian side Colchester remember. Town went down by that same embarrassing scoreline at Peterborough United in a difficult opening month to this season.
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Norwich took the Championship by surprise with a narrow diamond midfield formation last season. Ipswich have turned things round spectacularly in recent weeks by switching to the very same system.
Lambert’s men scored an incredible 19 goals beyond the 85th minute during their two promotions seasons. Jewell has hailed his side’s staying power in recent weeks after Keith Andrews and Lee Bowyer bagged late winners against Leeds and West Ham respectively.
“I think they got something like 20-odd points through injury-time goals,” said Jewell. “That gave the crowd belief and if we can get that belief at Portman Road we’ll have a chance.”