Ipswich Town stars must keep their heads in Norwich City derby clash

Tommy Miller played in three derby games

Tommy Miller played in three derby games

Former Ipswich Town midfielder Tommy Miller has called for calm heads as the Blues attempt to win their first East Anglian derby for almost eight years, on Sunday.

Miller, who is now assistant manager at non-league side, Spennymoor Town, played in three derby clashes during two spells with the club, ending up on the winning side twice and losing once.

Ipswich head to Norfolk in reasonable form, having picked up points against three promotion contenders in the last four games, and could put a dent in the Canaries’ slim play-off hopes.

While Miller appreciates the fixture is a special one for both sets of fans, the pragmatic approach, according to the former Sunderland and Sheffield Wednesday man, is to treat it as just another game.

“As the players get closer to the ground, on the coach, I am sure the Norwich fans will be waiting for them and there will be some light banter thrown about,” said Miller.

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“The players have got to try and thrive on that and enjoy the occasion, but treat it as just another game.

“It is hard to do, but you don’t want to be rushing into tackles and costing your team either.”

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There was certainly no quarter give in Miller’s time at Ipswich, the midfielder enjoying the sweet taste of victory at both Carrow Road and Portman Road.

“There were battles all over the field, I remember in particular playing against Gary Holt, who was a feisty player, but there were lots of different characters,” he added.

“Players could lose their heads in the game and you would always try and wind them up a bit.”

Fabian Wilnis and Darren Bent gave Miller his first derby win, a 2-0 success at Carrow Road in March 2003, before an Alex Pearce own goal and a strike from “Canary Crusher” Danny Haynes, secured Town a 2-1 home victory in April 2008.

“I remember the Wilnis and Bent game and recall Dean Bowditch coming for his debut and performing well,” added Miller, who played in the Tyne/Wear and Sheffield derbies during his career.

“The pressure is on Norwich – they have spent money over the years and there is an expectation to bounce straight back to the Premier League

“They have still got a good side and will be expected to win.

“The onus is on them to attack, so hopefully Ipswich can pick up little breaks and exploit them.

“I am expecting a good game.”

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