East Anglian derby could make headlines for the wrong reasons

THIS evening’s derby at Portman Road (kick-off 7.45pm) between Ipswich Town and Norwich City has all the makings of making headlines for the wrong reasons.

With pubs opening at lunchtime and the bank holiday weekend starting for many fans at lunchtime today a controversial ending to the match could lead to bloodshed and multiple arrests.

It is a tinderbox position the authorities have put themselves in line for by switching the game from first Saturday lunchtime and then Friday lunchtime to Thursday night.

Hopefully good sense will reign with Norwich looking for only their third double over their Suffolk neighbours in almost 60 years.

The Canaries demolished Ipswich 4-1 at Carrow Road thanks to Grant Holt’s hat-trick in November and are sitting third in the Championship – just a point behind Cardiff in second, who play on Saturday.

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In 34 seasons sharing the same division since 1952, the Norwich have only come out with maximum points against Town in two campaigns – which ended with contrasting fortunes.

In 2003-04 it was all about the title as Norwich went top of the old Division One with victory at Portman Road, before a 3-1 home win helped take them to the riches of the Premier League.

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However, the only other double success in half a century came in the top flight nine seasons earlier – where a 2-1 win in Suffolk was followed up by a 3-0 win at Carrow Road in March 1995.

However, that was City’s only win after the new year, enough to see Norwich’s Premier League status disappear.

“Former City star Darren Eadie, who played in both victories – and scored at Carrow Road – during the 1994-95 season, said: “It’s the intensity, especially when there is so much riding on it.

“Probably the second derby of the season is the most important purely for the fact there isn’t one until the season after, and if Norwich manage to go up they are not going to have one for a few years.

“That’s the one, the last one, that will stick in the memory the most, and if you win it you can live on that for months.”

Ipswich have completed five doubles over Norwich in the last 60 years, with Eadie adding: “It’s probably fallen for us in the right situation. I’m hoping a few at Ipswich might be looking at their holidays rather than the game.”

Tonight’s likely squads

Ipswich Town: Lee-Barrett, Edwards, McAuley, Delaney, O’Dea, Drury, Leadbitter, Norris, Bullard, Carson, Wickham, Fulop, Peters, Civelli, Scotland, Healy, Whight, Kennedy, Hyam, O’Connor.

Norwich City: Ruddy, Ward, Whitbread, Tierney, R Martin, Crofts, Surman, Fox, Hoolahan, Jackson, Holt, Lansbury, Lappin, Edwards, Vokes, Pacheco, McNamee, Rudd, Hughes, C Martin, Smith.

Referee: Mr J Moss (West Yorkshire)

Ipswich home league record against Norwich City

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