Lee: Town fans have been great

ALAN Lee is confident he will get a good response from Ipswich fans when he returns to Portman Road tomorrow for the first time since leaving last August.

Derek Davis

ALAN Lee is confident he will get a good response from Ipswich fans when he returns to Portman Road tomorrow for the first time since leaving last August.

The on-loan Norwich City striker who joined Crystal Palace in a �600,000 move, expects a few boos but on the whole feels he will be remembered for the 33 goals he got for Town in 107 games.

Lee said: “I scored a lot of goals for them and to be honest the response I've had from Ipswich fans since I signed for Norwich, everyone I have met has been totally positive and really happy for me.

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“I still know plenty of the lads and still stay in touch, as you do with all your old colleagues, but I can't wait to get out there on Sunday.

“People leave football clubs, it's just football. There's no point in getting angry about it or worked up. That's life, that's the way football goes, but I think the fans knew I gave 100% for them and they appreciate that.”

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The 30-year-old also accepts he has to keep his emotions and temper in check after already collecting three bookings in just four matches, but says referee Neil Swarbrick has a major role to play.

He said: “Like any game of football I'm sure it's a very hard job to do - you are trying to control 22 men who are running round trying to do their best and it all gets heated.

“I think early on there might be some tackles flying in and I think it's important for referees not to go booking people too early. Sometimes it can spoil the game, but I suppose the key is to try to let it flow.

“In these derbies there is a lot of needle, but it doesn't change how you approach things. You might have a conversation before or certainly afterwards, but when you're out on the pitch you don't have time to think about anything else but your game.”

With relegation looming for the Canaries that might not be easy but Lee and his City team-mates will be looking for a pre-derby boost from results from rivals Southampton, Barnsley and Nottingham Forest who all play today.

Lee said: “I expected a bit of hype all right, but I am prepared for it. But it's important now we all think about the game and how we are going to perform.

“I think there is always an extra bit of spice in these games, but as for the importance factor it's crucial, no matter who we're playing, it's so crucial.

“And we'll know how the other teams did going into the game and hopefully that will help us or give us a lift, so fingers crossed.

“We have got to get the result, but there might be a little less pressure - although the way things are going I'd expect all those teams to win.”

Lee also refused to be drawn into former manager Jim Magilton's future at Portman Road.

He said: “I don't really have any thoughts on that - that's nothing to do with me any more.”

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