Derby clash is juicy prospect for City Ladies boss

There will still be a Norwich v Ipswich football derby this season - for City Ladies play in the same league as the Tractor Girls.

The South-East Combination derby clashes are a juicy prospect for the Canaries, who are gunning for promotion to the National League.

They were second last season, only to fall at the first play-off hurdle, while Ipswich finished mid-table.

New City manager Darren Moss is focusing on pre-season preparations and the first game, at home against Crystal Palace, but is particularly relishing the prospect of the derby encounters against Ipswich Town.

'Obviously it gives it more spice,' he said. 'There is always that edge when we play the local rivals - like the men. Looking forward to it.'

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City kick off the new season on August 14 with Crystal Palace paying a visit, and they will have had several games under their belt before travelling to Ipswich on October 16 with the return fixture at Plantation Park, Blofield, on December 11.

Last season, City Ladies beat Ipswich 3-1 away and drew 1-1 at home while against Crystal Palace, City drew at home and lost down in London.

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'We're going for it this year,' said Moss. '[City] were close last time. I think we have got a shout this year. Everyone's up for it.'

He added: 'Pre-season starts on the 4th of July and from day one we will be focusing on the first game. Crystal Palace is a good start.'

The other teams City will face this season are Brentwood Town, Cambridge, Ebbsfleet United, Enfield Town, Lewes, Luton Town, Milton Keynes Dons, Old Actonians and Tooting & Mitcham.

Moss stressed that it will be a management team effort - fully involving former joint bosses Scott Emmerson and Emma Fletcher and also reserves' team manager Kevin Wager.

'Not being involved last year I will be talking to Scott and Emma,' explained Moss. 'Scott will be first-team coach and Emma will be part of the management team. It's vital we have women coaches involved and Emma is a Level 3 coach. Together it should be a good team. I will make the final decisions but the three of us will work together.

'I will also be working with Kevin Wager. The reserves is a vital cog in us moving forward. The first team had some injuries last year which showed how vital it is. We're trying to build the squad - it's going to be a squad effort.

'There will be a players' meeting next Wednesday. We will be laying down what we want,' he said.

The full opening-day fixture list is Cambridge Women v Enfield Town, Ebbsfleet United v Old Actonians, Lewes v Ipswich Town, Luton v Brentwood, Milton Keynes Dons v Tooting & Mitcham, Norwich City v Crystal Palace.

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