'It will be as intense as United v City'

IPSWICH Town defender Ben Thatcher kicked-off 'hostilities' ahead of Sunday's East Anglian football derby today stressing the overriding importance of the Blues collecting three Coca-Cola Championship points at Carrow Road.

Elvin King

IPSWICH Town defender Ben Thatcher kicked-off 'hostilities' ahead of Sunday's East Anglian football derby today stressing the overriding importance of the Blues collecting three Coca-Cola Championship points at Carrow Road.

Thatcher, 33, has experience of Manchester derbies having been a regular in the City defence in a career that has seen him play at Premier League level with Wimbledon, Tottenham and Manchester City.

“I have been made well aware of the rivalry between Ipswich and Norwich,” said Thatcher, who has recovered from a tear to a thigh muscle but was 'rested' in last weekend's home draw with Sheffield United.


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“From what I have been told what will go on at Carrow Road on Sunday will be just as intense as I experienced in Manchester.

“Fans will have looked for this date as soon as the fixtures came out. For supporters in pubs, factories and offices the result will make or break their week.

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“It will be a massive day, but with our desire to move up the table the most important thing will be to collect three points.”

Thatcher has the experience to make an impact if he gets the nod from Town manager Jim Magilton to return to the side that will face the Canaries.

And he would relish the chance adding: “We want to win every game and therefore give 100% every game. But if it was possible to give more at Norwich then we will - as we know the importance of the match to our supporters.”

Thatcher says that his move to Ipswich after playing for Charlton last season has proved a success despite injury problems that have limited his appearances to seven games.

“It has been quite an easy transition,” added Thatcher. “Ipswich's facilities are A1 and there has been nothing to worry about.

“I have been chasing my tail a bit after missing pre-season training and felt good after the Colchester Carling Cup game, but just before the interval in the next round against Wigan I tore a thigh muscle.

“The way the fixtures went I only played one reserve game before getting back in first team.

“To be honest no one likes playing in reserves, and there were two big games on my return against Derby and Birmingham.”

Thatcher appreciates that there will be times when he is likely to sit on the sidelines, explaining: “We have a large squad. I travelled to Doncaster and sat in the stand along with Tommy Miller. Any team that cannot fit Tommy into its final 16 has to have a great squad.

“My hunger is still there and I am aiming for the play-offs.”

And briefly talking about his disciplinary outlook after being the subject of a lengthy ban following a well-publicised challenge while with Manchester City, Thatcher said: “I have not been booked since I signed for Ipswich. You cannot play at this level without being competitive and this is something that has to stay in my game.”

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