We owe the Canaries one, says Ipswich Town’s Tommy Smith
- Credit: Archant
He’s suffered the big defeats and lost the bragging rights, now it’s time for Tommy Smith to turn the tables on the Canaries.
The defender is gearing up for the biggest game of his career, at Portman Road tomorrow, when Ipswich Town host Norwich City in the first-leg of the Championship play-off semi-final (12.15pm KO).
Smith played in both games this season as the Canaries prevailed 1-0 in Suffolk and 2-0 in Norfolk and was also part of the Blues team humbled 4-1 at Carrow Road in November 2010, the season City were last promoted to the Premier League.
The New Zealand international, who helped Town into the play-offs by the skin of their teeth, despite defeat at Blackburn on the final day of the season, was left smarting by those losses, but says all the pressure is on their East Anglian rivals.
“Their league position makes them automatic favourites throughout the play-offs and they have got a Premier League squad that came down last season, but there’s no reason why we can’t beat them,” said Smith.
“The two defeats this season hurt as they’re the biggest games of the season for the fans. To not give ours the bragging rights was a blow.
“But we have recovered from them and owe them one.”
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Smith, 25, has played in a World Cup and the Olympics with New Zealand, but the Town academy product believes the double-header against the Canaries are his biggest games yet.
“I have never been in this situation before and it’s been 10 long years since the club was in the play-offs,” explained Smith.
“It’s probably the most important game (of Smith’s career), given the prize at the end of it, but we will prepare no differently.”
On the derby rivalry, Smith did not go as far as former Town favourite Jason Dozzell’s comments earlier in the week, but did say: “Hate’s not the right word but there’s a dislike towards them (Norwich).
“I have grown up in the area and seen what it means to the fans (to beat Norwich) and that rubs off on me, but I am not getting too carried away.”