‘We’ve not proved ourselves against Norwich’, says Ipswich Town defender
- Credit: Archant
Tommy Smith is desperate for Ipswich Town to prove their credentials against Norwich City as they chase a place in the promised land of the Premier League.
The Blues are potentially 180 minutes from a place at Wembley and a £150m shoot-out against Brentford or Middlesbrough.
However, for Town to progress, they must do what they have not yet been able to do this season – overcome the Canaries.
The Blues lost 1-0 at Portman Road in August and 2-0 at Carrow Road at the end of February, despite having taken points off the remaining four teams in the top six, including doing the double over promoted Watford.
The results clearly frustrated the Blues, and Smith says there is no better time to give City a taste of their own medicine with the carrot of fixtures against Arsenal, Chelsea and the Manchester clubs a potential prize.
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“We have proved ourselves against some of the top teams this season, not quite so against Norwich though, so we owe them one,” said Smith.
“This might be the only time we have the opportunity to get ourselves into the Premier League so we must not leave anything in the changing room and we have to give it all we have got.”
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Smith, who played in both derby games this season, has been with Town since 2007 and grew up watching the Blues battle Norwich.
Now he is relishing the chance to come face to face with the Canaries again, especially given his record against the club from Norfolk.
“I played in the away game when we lost 4-1 and that was horrible,” recalled Smith.
“It was the season they went up and they did that to a number of teams.
“It’s never nice to lose against your local rivals but this season there has not been a massive gulf in class, we just haven’t taken our chances.
“I also remember Danny Haynes scoring the winner in a home game against Norwich though, and that’s probably the memory that stands out for me.
“It would be great to recreate those sorts of scenes at Portman Road on Saturday.”
Smith featured 44 times in the regular season for Town, who sealed their play-off place despite suffering a 3-2 defeat at Blackburn Rovers on the final day of the season.
“It was a very strange feeling after the game; We were happy to have made the top six but disappointed with the way the game had gone,” explained Smith.
“It didn’t start sinking in that we were in the play-offs until we were halfway home and everyone started chirping up and were a bit happier.”
IPSWICH TOWN (4-4-2): Bialkowski; Chambers, Smith, Berra, Mings; Varney, Bishop, Skuse, Tabb; Sears, Murphy. Doubts: McGoldrick, Hyam.
NORWICH CITY (4-2-3-1): Ruddy; Whittaker, Martin, Bassong, Olsson; Dorrans, Tettey; Howson, Hoolahan, Johnson; Hooper. Suspended: Grabban. Doubts: Whittaker, Tettey, Jerome.