Sears: We've Got to Come Out Fighting
Thursday, 7th Feb 2019 19:37
Freddie Sears agrees it is a daunting prospect for Town to beat Championship leaders Norwich in Sunday’s latest instalment of the East Anglian derby saga that started in the Norfolk & Suffolk League 117 years ago.
But he also believes anything can happen and is refusing to rule out a shock Town win as they desperately search for inspiration in their battle to avoid relegation to League One.
Sears, 29, said: “They’re top of the league, beating a lot of teams and scoring a lot of goals, and we’re bottom. So it’s a really tough ask and we’ve not travelled well this season. I’ve only seen them on television and they look a good footballing side.
“They play out from the back and their full-backs and wingers like to get forward, while the guy up front [Teemu Pukki] is scoring a lot of goals.
"But we’ll make it as uncomfortable as we can for them, try to upset them and put our game plan forward.
“We’ve got to come out fighting. We can’t go there and expect to outplay Norwich because it’s not going to happen.
“We’ve got to fight, run and give it all we can, and see if that makes a difference.
“Winning would be massive for us. Any win is big at the minute but to go and beat them there could really kick-start things for us.
“They will be bouncing with them being top of the league and us being at the bottom, but it’s all down to what happens in the 90 minutes as to which fans get the bragging rights. Whoever wins, it will be a big win for them for different reasons.”
Town will have several players making their first derby appearances and there have been so many personnel changes at Portman Road in recent months that as few as only four of the players in action when the sides last met in September could feature in manager Paul Lambert’s starting line-up.
Sears had this advice for the players making their bow at Carrow Road: “They’re different games. The atmosphere’s great, the intensity is a lot higher and there’s tackles flying everywhere. You’ve got to cope with it and deal with it.
“The manager has reminded us today about the fact that we haven’t had a win over Norwich in 10 years.
"It’s a long time in football but we were so close last year. Chambo scores in the last minute and we think we’ve done it, but they equalise well into stoppage time.
“It’s got to change. No win in 10 years simply isn’t good enough and it’s down to us to make a bit of history I suppose.
“The gaffer was very successful when he was at Norwich and I know he’s in the Hall of Fame there. He knows the place inside out and how their crowd are going to react to certain situations. It might be an advantage, it might not.
“But our fans will be helping us out and that’s what we need at the minute. Form’s got to go out of the window for us because we’re not winning games and it’s up to us to make something happen.”
Sears and his team-mates are sure to be keeping a close eye on Championship results on Saturday affecting Town’s main relegation rivals Rotherham, Reading and Bolton.
“I’ll be having a look and obviously I hope they all lose,” he added. “There’s no doubt about it – I’m not sitting here thinking that I want Rotherham to win and we’ll catch them regardless.
“We need to get results but we’re relying on other teams as well. I don’t know who is playing who this weekend but depending on the results it could give us something to take into our own game on Sunday.”
Sears, a close friend of out-of-favour defender Jonas Knudsen, said the Danish international could be depended upon to give his maximum if Lambert decided to bring him in from the cold at Carrow Road.
“We’re really close and it’s a tough situation for him at the minute,” he said.
“I don’t really know what’s going on behind the scenes but he’s training hard and I think he’s available to play.
“If the manager picks him he’s going to give 100 per cent. He’s that sort of character and he’ll be ready anytime to play, but that’s down to the manager.”
Meanwhile, Sears said he is not concerned about his contract situation at present, adding: “To be honest I’ve not even thought about that. The club took up the option on my contract in December so I’m here next season, regardless.
“Hopefully I’ll be a Championship player next season with Ipswich Town and if not we’ll have to see what happens from there.
“We’re obviously in a tough situation at the minute, eight points from safety, but if you were eight points off the play-offs you would believe you had a chance of doing it.
“We’ve got to keep believing. There are still 16 games to go and each of them is going to be a cup final for us.”
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