View from the opposition: Hopes raised but Mick McCarthy still unpopular among Ipswich fans

Polish goalkeeper Bartosz BiaBkowski has been one of the most impressive performers for Ipswich Town

Polish goalkeeper Bartosz BiaBkowski has been one of the most impressive performers for Ipswich Town this season. Picture: STEVE WALLER - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Ipswich Town fan, and the EDP's reporter in Thetford, REBECCA MURPHY is feeling hopeful ahead of the latest edition of the East Anglian derby kicking off at Carrow Road.

Are you feeling confident ahead of Sunday's match?

There wasn't much between the two sides at Portman Road in August and with the form of both teams over the past few weeks, I think it is going to be another close game. I'm feeling more optimistic than I was a few months back. It's a derby game so I am always nervous and I'm not sure myself and other Ipswich fans can take another loss. It's been nearly eight years since we have won a derby game. Plus, it would be a very good feeling to really put a huge dent in the Canaries' play-off hopes.

Has Mick McCarthy won back the support of Town fans?

I don't think he has. There is a more optimistic feeling at Portman Road then a few months ago and the football is a lot easier on the eye but I don't think he has won back the support of the fans. Some of the football myself and other Town fans have witnessed this season has been the worst in the club's history – boring, clueless and tactically inept. McCarthy has done himself no favours by regularly criticising the fans, who are very a patient lot, and with the players he has chosen to play over others – such as Jonathan Douglas over a more dynamic midfielder. I personally believe McCarthy, who has a year left on his contract, will remain in the job, keep us in league and then will leave in the summer. New life needs to be breathed into Ipswich Town.

How much of a blow is it that top scorer Tom Lawrence is banned?

Tom Lawrence has been our best player. Before our form picked up at the start of this month, he was the bright spark in the team. His positivity on the ball and always looking to play the forward ball or take a shot on goal was what we were crying out for. His 10 goals have been vital. However, we played well against Leeds last weekend without him, David McGoldrick is looking back to his best and Cardiff loanee Emyr Huws also looks impressive. Freddie Sears got himself back on the score-sheet against Leeds so he'll be looking to kick-on. It's not all doom and gloom with Lawrence missing.

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Which players have impressed this season?

Town's goalkeeper Bartosz Bia?kowski has carried on his good form from last season. An excellent shot stopper who has kept us in a number of games this season. He was named Supporters' Player of the Season for 2015/2016 and I can see him being one of the favourites for the award this year. When included in the team, full-backs and academy graduates Myles Kenlock and Josh Emmanuel have slotted in nicely. Not afraid to take people on, they can both be future starters for the first-team.

And which players have been disappointing?

Christophe Berra. He's looked unsettled and uncomfortable during a lot of games this season. During the 2014/2015 season he was unbeatable both in the air and on the ground, now he looks as though he always has a mistake in him.

Were you happy with the Tractor Boys' January transfer business?

We've got two players, Huws and Leeds loanee Toumani Diagouraga, who have impressed and have really made a positive impact. But it would be nice to have a transfer window where Ipswich splash-out a couple of million for a player. The feeling is it won't happen while Marcus Evans is in charge.

Have you been surprised to see the Canaries outside the top six?

I am glad to see Norwich outside the top six but I am surprised. I think fan expectations at City might be too high – there is no guarantee once a team gets relegated that they will go straight back up. Although with the players Norwich have got and the money they have spent it is still a shock they're struggling. Alex Neil doesn't seem to know what his best team is and is always chopping and changing – consistency is key in this league.

Prediction for the match?

Norwich 0 Ipswich 1

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