Five things to watch out for ahead of the Norwich City v Ipswich Town derby
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Norwich City need three points in the East Anglian derby on Sunday to keep alive their promotion hopes - but it's about so much more than that.
The Canaries have held the upper hand recently and are seven matches unbeaten against the old enemy - could they possibly make it eight?
Here's five things to ponder as City look to establish bragging rights over their fiercest of rivals.
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It's no secret that the Canaries' back four has a mistake in it, particularly when it comes in for some rough treatment from strikers.
Timm Klose will be glad Daryl Murphy is no longer part of the Ipswich scene after the buffeting the Swiss international took in the 1-1 draw at Portman Road earlier in the season.
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However, Ipswich fans were growing tired of Mick McCarthy's direct tactics and a more refined approach has been honed in recent weeks with the likes of David McGoldrick, Emyr Huws and Tom Lawrence coming to the fore.
Norwich may feel more comfortable dealing with that kind of threat as they have shown a propensity to fold under physical pressure at times this season.
'What's it like to see a crowd?' – this will undoubtedly be one of the first chants the Barclay directs towards the Ipswich travelling contingent on Sunday.
The Blues' relationship with their supporters has been as rocky as Norwich this campaign.
The only difference is that a lot more Blues fans are staying away from Portman Road with the average attendance down to 16,682 this season.
It's a source of fun for Norwich fans but who knows how they would react if they were bumbling along in the second tier for the 15th season in a row.
It will be a full house at Carrow Road and the Ipswich fans will be making themselves heard in the corner. City will be hoping to have enough to cheer about to drown them out.
Spot the owner
Whatever Norwich fans think of Delia Smith and Michael Wynn Jones, hell or high water couldn't keep them away from watching their beloved Canaries. Whilst the debate over the ownership of the club came into sharper focus after Premier League relegation, no City fan can dispute their love for the club,
It is quite the contrast when compared with Ipswich's mystery owner Marcus Evans. Only relatively recently have photos been circulated enough that Town fans would even recognise him such is his reticence to the limelight. Throw in the fact he asks Mick McCarthy to work on the proverbial shoestring budget and you can perhaps understand his lack of popularity amongst the Blues support base.
Evans is unlikely to be at Carrow Road on Sunday - nothing could keep Smith or Wynn Jones away. Which owner/s would you prefer?
A lot of Ipswich Town fans don't like him. Mick McCarthy does. His detractors say he is a plodder whilst his cheerleaders say he keeps things ticking along nicely.
Norwich fans will make up their own minds on Sunday afternoon but if the likes of Wes Hoolahan, Alex Pritchard and Jacob Murphy can buzz around the forward positions like they did in the win over Nottingham Forest, then the former Bristol City man is going to have his work cut out.
McCarthy has pinpointed Hoolahan as the man Ipswich need to stop – much of that task will fall to Skuse.
Ipswich's defeat to Lincoln in the FA Cup was the low point of their season. They then went on to take just one point from their next three games, which included convincing defeats to Huddersfield and Derby.
Town fans were concerned they were about to get sucked into a relegation fight and you could understand why when at the start of February they saw games against Reading, Aston Villa, Brighton, Leeds and Norwich. Where were the points going to come from?
Ipswich have since steadied the ship and are unbeaten this month. They arrive at Carrow Road at arguably their most confident point of the season with any serious thoughts about relegation pushed to the side.