Tierney ready for the real derby

Marc Tierney made his mark on the last East Anglian derby he featured in – although he's quick to admit he's quickly learned it wasn't the real thing.

Tierney was playing for Colchester United the day they lost 5-0 to a Norwich side heading for a swift return to the Championship under his old boss Paul Lambert.

He left Wes Hoolahan in a heap on more than one occasion and got up close and personal with an aggrieved Grant Holt as a result.

Fast forward 15 months and Tierney finds himself on his first long run in the starting XI since his arrival at the turn of the year – during which time the people of Norwich have made it clear to him that there really is only one East Anglian derby worth the name.

'So I'm told,' he said with a big grin yesterday. 'This is the proper one.'

Tierney has enjoyed his growing relationship with the fans – inside and out of Carrow Road.

'They come up and stop you and they want to tell you about the season and it's been brilliant since I've been here,' he said.

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'I have got on with them really well. They will say if you are doing well or if you're not and at the moment everything is going well and we will be looking to take that into the game on Thursday.'

Tierney is what you call a no-nonsense defender – as that tussle with Holt and Hoolahan proved. It was, he says, a game when he got stuck in – although tomorrow there is just a tinge of caution called for.

'I did, yes,' he recalls. 'I think everyone will be come the game, but the gaffer is right saying keep your head, obviously if there is a fair challenge to be made by all means throw yourself into it, but be a bit clever as well.

'You have to keep 11 players on the pitch. You can't let your emotions run away with you too much, although if there is a challenge there to be won every single one of us will be there to win it. You can't play the occasion, you play the game.

'Physically and mentally you have got to be right, you have got to know your situations, maybe when to calm things down or when to get stuck in. You have to play the game right. It is a massive occasion and we need everyone together.

'You look forward to the big games. The way we have played this season every game now is massive and it doesn't get any bigger than this, a local derby and four games to go to one of the biggest things in our lives so it doesn't really get any bigger..'

Tierney has started the last nine games, pushing himself ahead of Adam Drury in the pecking order, and is turning in some eye-catching performances.

'One of the first things I discussed with the gaffer when I came in was to get fit,' he said. 'I've been doing extra work and that's got me in. I have managed to put a bit of a run of games together and that obviously helped with the fitness and the way the lads have welcomed me I couldn't ask for more coming into these massive games.'

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