Magic moments, keeping Maddison quiet and supporting Garner - the keys to Ipswich ending Norwich’s derby domination
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
With the East Anglian Derby rapidly approaching, Andy Warren looks at the keys to the game as the Blues bid to beat their bitter rivals for the first time since 2009.
Once again, manager Mick McCarthy has selection decisions heading into this clash.
Bersant Celina returned against Burton and endured a tough afternoon, like the rest of his team-mates, but there will be a clamour for the Kosovan to start on derby day.
In Town’s previous away game at Sunderland, McCarthy deployed Freddie Sears on the left flank in a bid to keep things tight. Does he do so again at Carrow Road before unleashing Celina in the second half? Mustapha Carayol impressed off the bench against the Brewers and is pushing for a first start.
McCarthy could also potentially make changes in midfield, with both Cole Skuse and Callum Connolly far from their best against the Brewers. Stephen Gleeson is the man who could potentially come in there.
The Blues boss opted to again use Cameron Carter-Vickers ahead of Adam Webster against Burton, with the Spurs man performing well and likely to keep his place.
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Quietening the crowd
The Canaries have flattered to deceive at Carrow Road this season and sit 18th in the Championship table when it comes to home form. Ipswich have won as many games on the road (five) as Norwich have won in front of their own fans, with Daniel Farke’s side scoring just 16 goals in front of their home supporters.
As a result, keeping the home fans quiet by not giving an inch early on could create a nervy atmosphere inside Carrow Road, which can easily translate to the players. Then the Blues need to take advantage.
Exploit the flanks
Norwich’s set up means the spine of their side is supremely solid, with three centre backs, and the midfield duo of Alex Tettey and Moritz Leitner, giving them a strong base to work from which is extremely hard to break down.
They supplement those with flying wing backs – most recently Harrison Reed (a central midfielder) and the talented but raw Jamal Lewis.
Attacking these two down the flanks could be a source of joy for the Blues, particularly if McCarthy opts to use Celina and Carayol.
Keeping Maddison quiet
There is no doubting the man Ipswich fans fear heading into this game.
James Maddison was the difference when the two sides met at Portman Road earlier in the season, and the youngster has been the Canaries’ star man ever since.
He looks destined to depart for the Premier League this summer for a hefty fee, but his trickery, direct play and an eye for goal will certainly carry Norwich’s hopes for the remainder of the campaign.
Using either Skuse or Connolly in a man-marking role is an option for McCarthy, as he looks to handle a player already being spoken about as being worth more than £20million.
Joe Garner is at his best when he is able to occupy defenders, bully them into submission and win the aerial duel.
He finds that easier against central defensive pairings, but against Norwich he will be facing a solid back three in the form of Grant Hanley, Timm Klose and Christoph Zimmermann. Hanley in particular is a hulking centre-half who will give Garner a run for his money when it comes to the physical battle.
Playing as the lone striker, Garner has struggled against back threes whenever he has faced them this season – most recently against Wolves when he barely got a look in in a 1-0 defeat.
Supporting him and ensuring he doesn’t become isolated will be key at Carrow Road. Could McCarthy change his system to allow Waghorn to play in a striking role?
A moment of magic
In what promises to be another tight game between there two local rivals, it’s likely it will need a moment of magic for either side to win it.
The Portman Road derby in October was settled by Maddison’s sweeping effort from the edge of the box, with the England Under 21 international the most likely man to do so if the Canaries are to be victorious.
For the Blues, Celina has the look of a derby hero. He likes to shoot, is the darling of the Ipswich fans and is prone to celebrate with passions. Carayol has also threatened to celebrate wildly if he find the net in front of his new club’s most bitter of rivals.
Jon Stead was the last Ipswich player to score in a winning derby effort, all the way back in 2009.
The Blues will need a new hero to emerge if they are to be victorious this time.