East Anglian Derby II Buildup: From The Other Side
Well it's that time of year again - with Ipswich Town and Norwich City gearing up for another grudge match at Portman Road, we once again stretched out an olive branch over the cross-border divide to chat with the guys at Vital Norwich ahead of the second East Anglian derby of the season. So, here's the view From The Other Side:
Vital Ipswich: So it's 'Round Two' between Ipswich and Norwich on Thursday! Looking forward to it, or are you secretly dreading it?
Vital Norwich: Same as usual I suppose, a little bit of both! There's probably a bit more of each this time around though as there is a lot more riding on the outcome than in previous years - for us at least!
Vital Ipswich: Our last meeting at Carrow Road in November was a pretty memorable affair... though a rather painful memory for us! What did you make of that game?
Vital Norwich: Surprisingly enough I thought it was rather good! Like many people I was surprised with how poor you were in that game, but Holt's hat-trick and that fantastic moustache will live long in the memory.
Vital Ipswich: Ugh - don't remind me! That moustache will haunt me forever! Confident of a repeat, or do you think things will be different this time at Portman Road?
Vital Norwich: I'm confident that we'll put in a good performance, but very few people would predict a repeat of the one-sided victory we enjoyed in the first game. With all the changes that have gone on at Portman Road since, I for one am expecting a very different game this time around.
Vital Ipswich: It's been an astonishing season for your boys. What's been your opinion of the campaign? Be honest - did you ever see this coming?
Vital Norwich: I have to keep reminding myself of how quickly we have bounced back to where we believe we should be. I don't buy into this 'look how far we've come in 19 months' line that you so often hear, but I think that's mainly because I prefer to think of the last couple of years as the 'blip'. Having said that, I don't think anyone quite expected this season to go as well as it has; it has definitely been fun!
Vital Ipswich: You're potentially a few matches away from securing a return to the Premier League. Do you think you'll manage automatic promotion, or if not, how do you think you'd fare in the playoffs?
Vital Norwich: I honestly haven't got a clue, but just to be having that conversation in the first place is fantastic. Last week I caught myself feeling gutted at dropping down to third and "only being in the play-offs", and had to have a serious word with myself! Obviously automatic promotion has to be the aim now, but if we don't quite make it and have to go through the play-offs then I'm confident we can handle it.
Vital Ipswich: If (heaven forbid!) you were to get promoted this year, how would you fancy your chances in the top flight next season?
Vital Norwich: I only let myself think about this for the first time a week or so ago, but I banished it from my mind and won't allow myself to think about it again unless it becomes reality.
Vital Ipswich: So what have you made of all the goings-on at Portman Road since our last meeting?
Vital Norwich: Few people were surprised when Agent Keane was moved on, but I was disappointed he didn't get to complete his mission as it was all going so well! I've got to be honest, I haven't paid an awful lot of attention to what has been happening there unless you were playing one of the teams up and around the play-off places. I even caught myself cheering you on against Cardiff a while ago which was a very strange feeling!
Vital Ipswich: Really? That's funny, because I was cheering on Swansea City and Tamas Priskin a couple of weeks ago... (wink, wink!) Anyway, which of your players do you think will be key in this match? I was secretly hoping Grant Holt might still be injured...!
Vital Norwich: Holt and Hoolahan are the key ones for obvious reasons, but I think a large part of our success this year has been down to the fact that there is genuine quality throughout the side. Players like Andrew Surman, Russell Martin, Andrew Crofts and David Fox have all played a huge part in getting us to where we are.
Vital Ipswich: Who on the Ipswich side is catching your eye ahead of this game?
Vital Norwich: Well the obvious one is Connor Wickham, but if you've got a player like Jimmy Bullard in your squad he's always going to be a danger, whether he's passed his prime or not.
Vital Ipswich: It's neck on the line time again - give us your prediction!
Vital Norwich: We just don't do clean sheets so pretty much the only thing you can guarantee is that you will score at some point, but I don't think you'll beat us. I'd love to see a repeat of the 4-1 game but I think in all honesty it'll probably end in a draw so I'm going for an extremely safe and somewhat dull 1-1.
Thanks again to the guys at Vital Norwich for keeping the peace(!) and sharing their views. Here's hoping for another classic derby encounter - only hopefully not a repeat of last time!
Also, don't forget to check out the Vital Ipswich side of 'From The Other Side' over on the Vital Norwich website.
There's still time to vote in our latest poll on what you think the result will be at Portman Road on Thursday, and you can have your say on this article or any Town topic by joining our club forums here on Vital Ipswich: