Local pride is still at stake

IT is hard to estimate how much money will be changing hands in small wagers between the supporters of Ipswich Town and Norwich City, writes Tony Garnett.

IT is hard to estimate how much money will be changing hands in small wagers between the supporters of Ipswich Town and Norwich City, writes Tony Garnett. Seventh place, frustratingly short of the play-offs, is the target for both Town and The Canaries.

Ipswich meet George Burley's Derby County at Pride Park tomorrow while Norwich are at home to Preston North End. The prize of being top dogs in East Anglia means plenty to fans.

Ipswich also need a good result to help supporters forget that 1-5 defeat at the hands of Wimbledon last weekend. A boost to the immediate sale of season-tickets at Portman Road is a top priority.

Yet both managers may take the opportunity to look ahead to next season, even though Burley's future with the Rams is unsure until there is a decision on suspended boss John Gregory.

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It is Burley's final match in the role of interim manager. It will be an emotional occasion for him after his 22-year involvement with Ipswich.

It looks as though experienced goalkeeper Andy Oakes will be back after his shoulder injury although 18-year-old Lee Camp is in the running.

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Camp was fourth choice goalkeeper at Pride Park at the start of the season. Mart Poom, the Estonian now at Sunderland, and Oakes were the first two. Then came 20-year-old Lee Grant who has been called up in the England Under-21 squad.

Grant went off with an injured knee at Walsall last Saturday to enable Camp to make his debut. Camp had withdrawn from the England Under 19 squad to be available to be on the bench.

Three Derby players were called up for international duty this week. Craig Burley, nephew of George, was recalled by Scotland against Austria but was replaced after 63 minutes by Colin Cameron.

Simo Valakari joined up with Finland against Iceland in Helsinki while Georgi Kinkladze was in Georgia's squad but was unable to play because of a virus that might also rule him out tomorrow.

Kinkladze was expected to make his 100th appearance for the Rams at Walsall but cried off with a temperature.

Two Derby veterans were left out last week. Rob Lee, now 37 years old and at the end of his current contract, has been as consistent as anyone this season. Warren Barton was another to miss out with a back problem. George Burley took the chance to run the rule over midfielder Adam Murray, striker Izale McLeod and defender Pablo Mills.

Steve Elliott needs surgery on his ankle and is ruled out but Paul Boertien is starting to become established. He first appeared against Ipswich at Gresty Road when on loan at Crewe in 1999-2000 season.

Defender Richard Jackson joined Derby from Scarborough in 1998 but found his chances few and far between. Now Jackson is coming into his own as is midfielder Adam Bolder who started his career with Hull City.

Striker Tommy Mooney could be facing Ipswich for the third time this season. The Birmingham City striker has been on loan at Stoke when he played in the Potters' 2-1 win over Town at the Britannia Stadium in September.

Then he turned out for Sheffield United at Portman Road on February 8 when he was a 64th-minute substitute for Steve Kabba. Town won that match 3-2. Now Mooney is at Pride Park.

Derby County are seeking a league double. They won 1-0 at Portman Road in September with a goal from Argentinian Horacio Carbonari.

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