Norwich City players will need to put in ‘performance of their lives’ to beat Ipswich Town

John Deehan during his playing days with Norwich City.

John Deehan during his playing days with Norwich City. - Credit: Archant

Former Canaries striker John Deehan talks to David Freezer about what it takes to beat Ipswich Town in knockout football

John Deehan scores a goal against Watford during a 6-1 win for Norwich City at Carrow Road in 1984.

John Deehan scores a goal against Watford during a 6-1 win for Norwich City at Carrow Road in 1984.

Steve Bruce's winner against Ipswich in the Milk Cup 30 years ago is one of the iconic moments in Norwich City history – but it was not the only goal scored that night.

The first goal was scored by striker John Deehan, levelling the aggregate score after the Canaries had lost the first leg of that semi-final 1-0 at Portman Road.

That crucial goal was one of 70 Deehan scored for City, in 199 appearances for the club which he would later manage between January 1994 and July 1995.

'I remember scoring my goal in the second leg of course,' Deehan said. 'The ball came to me about 10 yards out in the box and I was trying to turn and shoot and at the same time Ian Cranson got very close and the shot ricocheted off his shoulder and took an age to go towards the goal.

NCFC Division Two champions with trophy in 1986. Back (left to right) Dale Gordon, David Williams, P

NCFC Division Two champions with trophy in 1986. Back (left to right) Dale Gordon, David Williams, Paul Clayton, Michael Phelan, Chris Woods, Steve Bruce, Ian Culverhouse, Garry Brooke. Front (left to right) Dennis Van Wyk, Dave Watson, John Deehan, Kevin Drinkell. Pic taken at Carrow Road, May 3, 1986, after final match of 1985-86 season (Norwich 4 Leeds 0) - Credit: Archant


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'Paul Cooper was still in the middle of the goal and the ball dropped into the net.

'Then I remember quite clearly making a run behind Brucey when he put his head right through the ball and took us to Wembley and Norwich City supporters to heaven.'

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As well as playing in those two famous East Anglian Derby games, Deehan also played for Town and is still working in the Championship today, as assistant to Sheffield Wednesday manager Stuart Gray.

All of which makes the former Aston Villa and West Brom forward perfectly qualified to assess the forthcoming play-off clashes of Norfolk's and Suffolk's finest.

'The real buzz started around the club after winning 1-0 at Grimsby in the round before, so we knew we were into the draw for the semis,' the 57-year-old recalled. 'Then once the draw was made things got really exciting because we all really wanted to get to Wembley.

'I'm sure people in Ipswich will be reminding their players, someone will be saying 'we owe them one'.

'But the ability that Norwich City have now, that group of players is that little bit more technical and gifted than the Ipswich players, but they are going to have to go out and give the performance of their lives because you can guarantee that Mick McCarthy's troops will be ready to go the whole 90 minutes and extra-time if they need to.'

Deehan's Wednesday side held both Ipswich (1-1) and Norwich (0-0) to draws at Hillsborough this season but lost 2-1 at Portman Road and 2-0 courtesy of a Bradley Johnson double at Carrow Road – and the former City boss is struggling to predict a winner of the impending play-off battle.

'Anyone that says they think it is going to be this result or that result is lying because the Championship has genuine and honest players who will try to win even when their season is over,' he added.

'Just look at ourselves at Wednesday, we go and draw at Watford and give back the title to Bournemouth, who we stopped from winning it the previous week. It's an incredible division.'

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