Norwich City’s lucky charm Wes Hoolahan targets fresh derby glory

Wes Hoolahan has won six and drawn two of his derby meetings.
Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Wes Hoolahan has won six and drawn two of his derby meetings. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Wes Hoolahan is Norwich City's lucky derby charm.

The mercurial Irish midfielder has never lost against neighbours Ipswich Town, winning six and drawing two of his eight meetings. Town head to Norfolk on Sunday bidding to end that hoodoo, but Hoolahan insists Alex Neil's men will be ready.

'It is a special occasion, they only come around twice a year so you have to savour them and enjoy every minute,' he said. 'We are at home, we need to show them what we can do. Speaking to the fans you know what this game means. They basically tell you not to lose it. You hear the fans talking about it and the buzz around the city and what it means not to lose this game to Ipswich. We know that, it's very important, it's massive and we aim to put in a good performance and get the points. It's always a difficult game and the atmosphere is always brilliant. These are the games the players look forward to. We are going to enjoy it.'

Hoolahan was on target in the last memorable Carrow Road dust-up, when City completed a Championship play-off semi-final aggregate win over the Blues in 2015.

'Looking back it was a great one to be involved in,' he said. 'Nathan Redmond was brilliant and it was great to get on the scoresheet as well as myself. Over these last four or five years we have got a good record. I don't know why that is. I don't think I have ever lost against Ipswich, touch wood, in about nine games. It is not a bad record.

'The play-off semi stands out. The first leg was a tough game at Portman Road and the first 45 minutes in the return but Nathan was on form and Cameron (Jerome) was on fire. You can't expect to win every game but what you can do is go out, and give your best. I try not to really think about what has gone before. You always have to think about what is next as a footballer.'

Hoolahan is one of City's experienced core who know how to handle the big-time occasion. Neil's squad is also in a rich vein of form at Carrow Road, in sharp contrast to away struggles.

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'Who knows the reasons? We look comfortable at Carrow Road, we are strong and the fans are behind us,' he said. 'I don't think anyone likes to come here in front of a sell-out crowd every other week. The away form is not as good, we know that, but in these remaining 13 or 14 games we can pick that up.

'Over these past few years me, John (Ruddy), Russ (Martin), Jonny Howson have played in these big games and done well in them. The younger lads have to go through now that but if you talk about guys like Jacob (Murphy) hopefully we can drag them along.'