Derby day predictions: Looks like a home win for Norwich City over the Ipswich foe...
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It's prediction time for our writers ahead of Sunday's big game.
Will City's undoubted home strength prevail, or will the derby atmosphere lift the visitors? It's anyone's guess...
Michael Bailey: Norwich City 1 Ipswich Town 1
There's something special on the line tomorrow – the last bastion of City's recent and prolonged rise.
Nothing said derby superiority better than a league aggregate of 9-2, although knocking the Tractor Boys out of the Championship play-offs City went on to win ran it close.
But the surrounding narrative has now changed. For once in recent history, City look like failing with their promotion recovery. They've sold the family silver mid-season.
- 1 Overnight works on stretch of A47 prompt 50-mile diversion for two weeks
- 2 Norfolk beach named among UK's most contaminated
- 3 'Do not eat' - Lidl recalls product over bacteria fears
- 4 New reservoir could secure region's water supply - but will cost over £1bn
- 5 Friend pays tribute to 'kind-hearted' 20-year-old who died in bike crash
- 6 Revealed: Buyer of Norwich Airport Industrial Estate - and what they paid
- 7 Where you will be able to see the Red Arrows over Norfolk this weekend
- 8 Part of Norfolk Coast Path to close for seven weeks
- 9 'Foodie Fortnight' to celebrate opening of new food hall in Norwich
- 10 'Genuine shock' after biker killed in town centre hit-and-run
Ipswich will be desperate – again – to finally find a derby win. They know what it means. Everyone does. Everyone wants it.
Town's improved style may make for a better game. It may also convince Alex Neil his side are better playing that way anyway.
What should be key is the first goal – Cameron Jerome's form might help there. For all of City's home form, slipping behind has never sat well. On this occasion and with the law of averages, I can't help thinking Norwich will recover – but only to a degree.
Ian Clarke: Norwich City 3 Ipswich Town 2
You need a decent memory to recall the last time we lost to the Tractor Boys.
We've won five and drawn two of the last seven derbies, with a 17-5 goal difference.
There have been some really great memories in there – 5-1, 4-1, play-off victory…I could go on.
Town are without Tom Lawrence and our home form should be enough to keep the run going.
But I'm always nervous as we go into these games and this weekend is no different.
The longer we get one over our rivals, the more that logic dictates they have to win at some point.
The talismanic figures such as Holty have played a huge part in our recent successes and we must see big characters come to the fore.
I predict a topsy-turvy game from two up and down teams and plenty of goals.
And I think we'll come away triumphant. Just. OTBC
Chris Lakey: Norwich City 2 Ipswich Town 1
Predicting Norwich City results is proving so difficult. They win and you can say, 'yup, I expected that'. Lose and it's the same. Any scenario is possible. The home advantage against Ipswich ought to count: City are the fourth best home team in the country, Ipswich the 16th away from home. City are the highest home scorers (36 in 16 games), Ipswich are third worst away scorers (12 in 16).
But it is the derby. Anything can happen. Personally, I think City will edge it, simply because they absolutely have to. However, my mind has changed at least twice since I starting writing this...
It is a must win game – the consequences of defeat could be very, very painful, short – and long-term. Main men will be Timm Klose for City and, I fancy, David McGoldrick for them. As well as Big Mick and his tactics...
Mark Armstrong: Norwich City 2 Ipswich Town 0
When you take a look at both squads there's only one winner and it's not the Blue end of the A140.
City have got the quality and it's only that result at Burton that has planted a seed of doubt in my mind. I thought Alex Neil and Norwich had emerged from their mid-season malaise and then they went for a Burton. Sorry.
If that proves to be the exception to the new rule then City will be fine against an Ipswich side, which only really has derby pride to play for between now and the end of the season.
East Anglian bragging rights are up for grabs but more important to Norwich is the three points as they can't afford to lose any more ground on the top six.
Ipswich have improved in recent weeks but without Tom Lawrence I don't believe they've got the firepower to trouble even Norwich's rickety defence.
David Freezer: Norwich City 2 Ipswich Town 0
Having watched Ipswich draw 1-1 with Leeds at Portman Road last weekend as part of our scouting mission, I'm expecting Town to give City a run for their money.
They were organised, solid defensively and first to second balls – just the sort of style Norwich have struggled against this season.
Emyr Huws and David McGoldrick bring quality to the table – watch out for Huws' corners in particular – but if City can get the first goal I still expect them to win.
With a fired-up Carrow Road crowd and strong home form on their side, the Canaries should have enough quality in their side to tip the scales in their favour.
As with every game this season, if Alex Neil's team match their opponents for work rate and desire, they have a good chance of coming out on top.
As ever in the derby, defeat is simply not an option.
Chris Wise: Norwich City 1 Ipswich Town 0
Norwich haven't failed to beat Ipswich at Carrow Road since Glenn Roeder's first game in charge in November 2007, which ended in a 2-2 draw – and I don't expect that sequence to change.
First and foremost, Alex Neil has the better players at his disposal, and although that appears to guarantee nothing at places like Rotherham, Wigan and Burton, it's a very different story at home, where City have heen playing well recently, winning six of their previous eight league encounters.
Town have proved resilient on the road in their last two fixtures, following up a 1-0 win at Aston Villa with a 1-1 draw at second-placed Brighton, and certainly can't be taken lightly. One suspects they will look to frustrate the Canaries and would settle for a point – but I just can't see them holding out for 90 minutes.
I'm backing Alex Neil's men to come through a hard-fought encounter 1-0.