There’s no better feeling than three points against that lot down the road

Norwich City's Jonathan Howson (centre) celebrates scoring the opening goal with team mates Cameron

Norwich City's Jonathan Howson (centre) celebrates scoring the opening goal with team mates Cameron Jerome (left) and Bradley Johnson (right) during the play-off semi-final first leg against Ipswich. Picture: PA - Credit: PA

I have noticed that people who don't come from Norfolk or Suffolk really struggle to grasp the magnitude of the East Anglian Derby.

They can't understand how there can be such an intense rivalry between two teams who are 40 miles apart.

I actually think that helps stoke the fire. In Manchester, for example, United and City fans will see each other on a daily basis. In Norwich, your friends and colleagues are most likely to be of a yellow and green persuasion. We don't mix with the blue side very much. Ipswich supporters really are 'that lot down the road'.

A dislike of Ipswich Town and anything associated with it is ingrained from an early age in these parts. I don't remember ever being told that they were the enemy – it just seems like an innate part of being a Norwich City fan.

I was in a pub during the week, on their quiz night. One of the questions was completely unrelated to football but did mention 'Suffolk'. One of the punters said something unpleasant, disguising it with a cough. It runs deep.

My first experience of watching the City first team in the flesh was a 2-0 derby defeat in March 2003. Quite an introduction. Being there for Grant Holt's hat trick in 2010 and Bradley Johnson's thunderous strike in 2015 more than made up for that though. Sadly, I missed the play-off semi-final two seasons ago.

The derby is, obviously, one of the first things I look for when the fixture list is released in the summer.

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Yet I also dread the occasion. Beating Ipswich is the best feeling possible for a City fan – getting one over them and earning the bragging rights.

But there's always a chance that on the day things won't go well and we will lose. The thought of losing to them and seeing their fans celebrate is sickening – and thankfully not something I've had to deal with for nearly eight years.

I know Norwich are the better side, and I pray they show they are the Pride of Anglia again on Sunday.