Bryan Gunn’s good, bad and ugly memories of Norwich City’s clashes with Ipswich Town
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One man who knows all about the potential highs and lows of East Anglian derby battle is former Canaries goalkeeper Bryan Gunn.
The Scot faced Ipswich nine times during his 12 years as a player at Carrow Road, emerging victorious from five of those encounters.
'Obviously there is some good, some bad and some ugly memories for me. The Gary Megson header is one that goes down as a bad memory,' Gunn recalls of a late own goal he conceded in a 2-1 defeat at Portman Road in December 1993.
'And the ugly has obviously got to be the infamous bobble (for Robert Ullathorne's own goal in a 2-1 loss in 1996) but there's the victories as well.
'I remember one at Carrow Road when the referee was Kevin Lynch I think and James Scowcroft won a penalty which launched into a bit of a scuffle. I was standing with John Wark and he was telling me how he was going to strike the ball into the back of the net and I noticed the linesman wasn't standing in the right position.
'He told the referee that he was scared to give offside at first because of the barrage of abuse hurled at him by the Ipswich fans and then no penalty was given and it was the Norwich fans singing in the end because we won 2-1 (at Carrow Road in November 1995).'
Gunn also experienced the derby from the touchline, during his spell as City manager in 2009, losing 3-2 at Portman Road. The 51-year-old now lives in the north-west, working as director of talent recruitment for a sports agency, but has been able to keep a close eye on his former club through occasional media work, and is sure City have the quality to beat Ipswich in the play-offs.
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'I think they'll go in as favourites, certainly with the way they've performed for the majority of the time since Alex Neil has come to the club,' Gunn said.
'That tremendous return of points and the way Alex has got the players motivated, which they showed a lack of in the FA Cup at Preston, which is one of the games I've covered this season.
'They seemed to lack motivation that day (losing 2-0). When I had watched them win 1-0 at Wigan a couple of weeks before they looked like they had turned a corner with some of the results in the run afterwards.
'But since Alex has come in the return of results, right up until the end of the season, has been excellent.'
The former Scotland international remains wary of the threat posed by the Tractor Boys, however, ahead of today's first leg in Suffolk.
'I know Mick McCarthy fairly well and he will look at it as a great opportunity to bring Norwich down a peg or two,' Gunn added.
'Winning gets the bragging rights for East Anglia and Norwich could get four positive results in one season. However, the target must be to go to Wembley – that has got to be the ultimate ambition, so it isn't about how they perform on the pitch, what's important is the result.
'I've seen Ipswich a couple of times this season and Mick will make them very competitive, he wants the ball up the pitch because there are more chances to score if the ball is in the final third, a lot of diagonal passes to the strikers.
'So it will be a very important day for the Norwich City defence because it will be tough against Daryl Murphy, who was in great form earlier in the season, and Freddie Sears, who has shown that he shouldn't really have been playing in League One because he's a better quality player than that.'