Norwich City talisman Bradley Johnson wants a leading role at Ipswich Town

Bradley Johnson thumped home a goal in Norwich City's 2-0 Championship win over Ipswich Town at Carr

Bradley Johnson thumped home a goal in Norwich City's 2-0 Championship win over Ipswich Town at Carrow Road in March. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Bradley Johnson admits he was made for Norwich City's high stakes Championship semi-final first leg trip to rivals Ipswich.

Johnson aims to cap a wonderful personal campaign, which saw the 15-goal midfielder crowned player-of-the-year, by dragging City back to the Premier League at Town's expense.

The 28-year-old will relish a pulsating Portman Road atmosphere in Saturday's lunchtime collision.

'I wouldn't say I am nervous. I am more excited,' he said. 'To play your local rivals with what is at stake why wouldn't you want to play in that occasion? It is about fire in the belly and keeping a cool head. I have been in a lot of teams where they can talk the talk but can't walk the walk. If I can do it on the pitch then that sends a message out to the younger lads in the squad.

'The first 30 minutes will be panic stations, everyone will come out of the traps desperate to win. I have been in these games before, if you get past that initial period then it dies down, and we can then play our football. It is about every man winning his own battle against the man he is up against. We can't afford anyone slacking and I like these sort of games.

'The players know the importance of this game, especially lads like myself and Wes (Hoolahan) and Russ (Martin) who have been here a while. I said from day one this season my main aim was to get this club promoted again to the Premier League. We were a touch unfortunate not to do it automatically but we have another chance now.'

Ipswich boss Mick McCarthy has sounded a bullish note in the build up but Johnson is a veteran of play-off football.

Most Read

'If Mick McCarthy says it is his time then we aim to spoil his party because we both want to go to the Premier League,' he said. 'I had a couple of experiences with Leeds and got to the final one year but it didn't go for us. I have been there, done it and know what its about. So too some of the other lads so we have that experience in our favour.

'I know many lads who have never won a game in the play-offs. It is one of those games when you can't have any regrets. You don't want to come off the pitch thinking why didn't I do this or that.'