Smith relishes Norwich trip

TOMMY Smith recognises the added importance of next Sunday’s eagerly-awaited East Anglian derby, following a third defeat on the bounce at Hull on Saturday.

TOMMY Smith recognises the added importance of next Sunday’s eagerly-awaited East Anglian derby, following a third defeat on the bounce at Hull on Saturday.

Smith was full of praise for Ipswich Town’s travelling supporters, who backed Roy Keane’s men throughout a rather drab encounter on Humberside.

Just days earlier, both Keane and his players – in the shape of Carlos Edwards and loanee Jack Colback – had spoken out against the Portman Road faithful for their booing of home players and the team’s tactics, and cheering of Barnsley during a spell of ‘keep-ball’ in Town’s 3-1 home defeat.

But Town’s away fans were fully behind their team at Hull, and they will be again at Norwich.

“We feel we can give Norwich a good game, and pick up a win,” insisted Smith.

“That could resurrect the season again, and we know that the fans will want to win it even more than we do.

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“We certainly want to give the fans something to cheer about.

“I thought the fans were good today. The away support has always been good and I take my hat off to them.

“Away from home they have been brilliant. They get behind us and that gives us a lift.

“In the Championship it only takes a couple of wins to get you right up there again. We hope to start that at Norwich next week,” added Smith.

Defender Smith, a World Cup star with New Zealand last summer, operated in central defence alongside Damien Delaney at Hull, due to Gareth McAuley’s continued absence with an Achilles tendon injury. Beforehand, Smith had been Town’s regular left-back.

McAuley is likely to be out for another fortnight, so Smith looks set for another outing in the heart of defence at Carrow Road.

He was not over-troubled by Hull’s rather toothless attack on Saturday, which made the 1-0 defeat all the more galling.

Smith continued: “The manner of the goal was unfortunate.

“We were not torn apart by great play. It was just a long- range shot (from Robert Koren) that took a deflection.

“We missed that bit of luck. We just didn’t get the breaks, because otherwise I thought we matched Hull all over the park.

“As a team we defended quite well. We came here to put up a strong defence and I thought we coped quite well.

“It looked as though we had done the hard work before their goal.

“We had a couple of chances, and had a couple of penalty shouts turned down as well. In fact, I think it was one of those days when the officials weren’t going to give us much.

“After the last couple of results, we needed to get back to basics, like at the beginning of the season when we were hard to beat.

“And for the majority of the game we did that. It’s just a shame about that goal,” added Smith.

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