Mick McCarthy promises Ipswich Town fans – ‘I know exactly what the East Anglian derby means to you’

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy has promised supporters that he knows exactly what tomorrow’s East Anglian derby against cross-border rivals Norwich City means to them.

The Barnsley-born Blues boss played for both Celtic and Manchester City in fierce derbies and managed Sunderland and Wolves in their big rivalries against Newcastle and West Brom respectively.

Tomorrow will be his first taste of the East Anglian clash though , the two clubs back in the same division for the first time since 2010/11 and Town supporters desperate to regain regional bragging rights following their painful 9-2 aggregate defeat in the fixtures last time around.

Speaking ahead of the televised lunchtime clash (12.15pm), he said: “I’ve lost some play-off finals and that hurt me a lot more than losing any derby game, but don’t anybody think I’m unaware of what these games mean to people who are from the area and have supported the club for years and years and years.

“Don’t be under any illusions of what it means to me either. I want to win every game. I don’t try and play it down and I don’t need to play it up – it’s a big game.

“Because it’s our nearest and not so dearest it means that little bit more.”

He continued: “I love derby games. Celtic-Rangers, Man U-Man City... I played in a few big ones. I managed a few too – Newcastle-Sunderland, West Brom-Wolves. Great games they are. The Celtic ones always stick out for me. Nothing mattered apart from those Old Firm games up there.

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“They can be a little bit heated, then it’s about being calm and being able to have the coolness to play when people are expecting things of you and demanding to win.”

With his side having started the season with a win (2-1 at home to Fulham), a defeat (1-0 at Reading) and a draw (2-2 at Birmingahm), Norwich have responded well to their limp 1-0 loss at Wolves on the opening weekend with impressive back-to-back home wins over Watford (3-0) and Blackburn (3-1).

“It will be a really competitive game, as is always the case in the Championship, with an added bit of spice,” predicted McCarthy. “The crowd will be bigger and the atmosphere will be good.

“I expect a good Norwich team because I’ve seen them play and they’ll definitely be one of the favourites for promotion to go straight back up. We’re doing okay though and they know they’ll be in for a game here tomorrow.”

He added: “I’ve got a very capable, competent, competitive team, but we’re playing against a team that’s just come out of the Premier League.

“We’ll need to play well, there’s no doubt about that. One thing I don’t even have to think or worry about is that we will be competitive and up for it. Whatever words you want to use to describe it, we’ll be full of that.

“I just hope we play well alongside all that.”

– See tomorrow’s EADT for all the build-up to the East Anglian derby. Follow @Stuart_Watson on Twitter for live updates.

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