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Town Out to Upset the Form Book and End Long Wait for Derby Glory
Friday, 8th Feb 2019 13:00

Town visit manager Paul Lambert’s former club Norwich City on Sunday looking to upset the form book and for their first derby victory in almost 10 years (Sky Sports Main Event/Football from 11.30am, kick-off midday).

The Blues go into the game bottom of the Championship, while the Canaries sit 39 points ahead of them at the top, although they could be down to third after Friday and Saturday’s fixtures.

Town last beat Norwich at Portman Road in April 2009 when Jim Magilton’s last game in charge ended in a 3-2 win. The Blues were most recently victorious at Carrow Road in February 2006 when Joe Royle’s Danny Haynes-inspired team won 2-1.

Despite the clubs’ currently contrasting situations, Lambert says he plans to take the game to the home side, dismissing the suggestion that it will be difficult to balance imposing the style he is trying to instil in his team and counter-acting the opposition’s threat.

“I don’t have a balancing act, I just go for it,” he insisted. “That’s what I’m going to do, I’m just going to go for it, that’s my balancing act.

“We’ll try everything we can to win, but I’ll go there and try and impose our own game on Norwich.

“It’s going to be difficult, I know it’s difficult, I know that. But I’d rather go and give it a go than not.”

He says his message to his players on the training field hasn’t altered going into the match: “No, it hasn’t. You play my way, play the club’s way. It’s not changed, it’s exactly the same message as it’s always been.”

How is he going to try to bridge what currently appears to be a gulf between the sides? “All we can do is try and take three points from them. It’ll make a helluva difference for us and if Norwich win it they get another three points to get out the division. We have to try and win.”

Lambert says he’s a firm believer in the old adage that form goes out of the window when it comes to derbies: “Yes, definitely. I’ve been involved in too many, so I know how it works.”

Has Norwich’s success this season surprised the man who was their manager between 2009 and 2012 and who took them up two divisions?

“I don’t know because I’ve not really followed them,” he added. “I don’t know major, major things about them.

“I know they’re doing well but they are where they are. They’ve been playing well, but let’s see what happens.”

Asked whether Norwich’s success this season illustrates what can be achieved in the Championship with astute recruitment and bringing youngsters through from academies, he pointed to the financial advantage of a number of years in the Premier League.

“Norwich have been in the Premier League up and down so they’ve had incredible finances," he said.

“This club hasn’t been in the Premier League for 17 years, so it puts you on the back foot. The Premier League gives you that opening, the secret is to stay in the Premier League where finances are great as everybody sees.

“We’re miles behind that, that’s the reality of it. But we’ll go there with so much heart and so much enthusiasm to go and try and win. A difficult game, but any given game you can win.”

Norwich’s big danger up front is Finnish international striker Teemu Pukki, who has netted 19 goals in all competitions in his first season at Carrow Road.

“He’s a big threat, yes,” Lambert reflected. “But I’ve got my own trust in my own team. Let them worry about us. I’m not going to sit and say we’re going to worry about this guy, worry about that guy. I’ve got my own faith in my own team.

“I’ll play my way and play the way we play. You respect Norwich as an opponent, but as I said before, I’ll go there to try and win.”

What’s the key to beating the Canaries on Sunday? “You need a bit of luck, we’ll need that. We’ll need some good play, we’ll need to fight. The usual things that you need to do for any game. I think that’s important.

“Nobody knows if it’s going to be good enough, but we’ll be ready for it. I know we’ll be ready for it.”

Looking back to September’s 1-1 draw at Portman Road, a game the Blues probably should have won, most observers would have been surprised to see either side now among the challengers at the top of the division five months on.

“But that’s football, football is a momentum thing,” Lambert continued. “It can change. If you get a wee bit of momentum it’s amazing what can happen, and that’s what happens. And we’ve not had the momentum, Norwich have had the momentum.”

Does Lambert believe Town can get the momentum they require to lift themselves away from their highly perilous current predicament? “Yes, because we’ve been so close to it a lot of times. I sit and think how we’ve not come away with anything from some games. But that’s what happens.

"As I've said, the club lost a helluva lot of goals out of the side, a lot of experience out of the side in the summer and went a different route, which it’s entitled to do.

“The Championship’s a really tough league. That doesn’t bother me, it’s Sunday it actually happens.”

Lambert is likely to include a number of youngsters in his squad for Sunday but he says he’s not overly concerned about their lack of experience and doesn’t want to rein them in.

“There are a few lads that have experienced a derby before,” he reflected. “The younger lads may be a bit different but as long as they keep that enthusiasm for their game.

“As I said, I’m not going to curtail them, they know what’s going to come at them and we have to be ready for it.”

Town’s results are yet to improve significantly since the January signings were made but Lambert says his new recruits are nearing match fitness.

“They’re getting there,” he added. “Some of them haven’t played for a really long time, but they’re getting there.

“One thing I can never point the finger at them about is they’re giving us everything, even the loan lads, they’re giving us absolutely everything and that’s the pleasing thing.

“But you can never make it up in only a few weeks. It’s a difficult thing to do. But the actual commitment from them, I can’t ask any more.”

He continued: “I think whatever system I play, whatever team I play, I’m just going to go for it and people have to be ready to come with us and be ready for it.

“The support will be up for it, that’s for sure. The atmosphere will be great, we’re just going to go for it, that’s what we’re going to try and do.

“I’m coming to win, that’s the bottom line. I might not do it, but we’re going to have a right good go.”

Lambert seems likely to stick with Bartosz Bialkowski in goal and will be hoping that his first-choice central defensive pairing, skipper Luke Chambers and veteran James Collins, will be fit having missed the Sheffield Wednesday match with foot and hamstring injuries respectively. If not, Matthew Pennington and Toto Nsiala will continue.

James Bree will be at right-back with Myles Kenlock and Callum Elder vying for the left-back role with Lambert appearing to have ruled out Jonas Knudsen, scorer of home and away derby goals back in 2016/17, returning to the fold despite his requested January exit having not materialised.

In midfield, Cole Skuse is likely to take up the deeper role with Flynn Downes also set to keep his place. Lambert has said he is weighing-up whether to start Teddy Bishop or use the 22-year-old from the bench, while Trevoh Chalobah and Jon Nolan are other options.

The Blues boss will have to choose between Collin Quaner and Will Keane for the central striking role, both of them having been more impressive from the bench than when starting in the last two matches.

The on-loan Huddersfield man may well get the nod with Alan Judge on the left and Freddie Sears on the right.

Norwich head coach Daniel Farke is wary of the unpredictable nature of derby matches.

“A derby game always has to be played without judging the table because these games are always full of passion and emotion. You can't predict how such a game will develop,” he told the Canaries official site.

“We are greedy and highly motivated, but it will be a difficult game. It's a big chance for Ipswich to change the whole mood in one game.”

Reflecting on Lambert’s return to Carrow Road, he added: “I can't judge the relationship of our fans with Paul Lambert, but I am full of respect for him. He was responsible for unbelievable success for promotion.

“I will always be full of respect for coaches who have achieved success in their career. If you work in the Premier League, the Championship or non-league, it's always unbelievably difficult to deliver results with consistency and Paul did that so it's a sign of quality.

“Paul is still a hero at Dortmund as well, there are some good memories so I am looking forward to meeting him tomorrow.

“I won't worry about [Town first-team coach and former Norwich U23s coach Matt Gill coming back]. I worked quite closely with him when he was U23s coach but it's not like he knows any secrets or anything. It will be good to see some familiar faces.”

Farke says his squad’s preparations for the match have gone well: “The week has been really good so far on the training pitch. We are focused and it helps that it's such a big game so we are not too relaxed [after the 3-1 win at Leeds last weekend]. We have to prove it on Sunday. 

“It's important that we play our game and stick to our plan. We have to make it our game and then we have a big chance to win the points.

“For Ipswich it's a good chance to change the mood and be back in the relegation battle. They will try to annoy us and break our rhythm, so it's important we handle this intensity and aggressiveness, but also keep cool to bring our topics on the pitch. We have to play with a flame in the heart, but cool in the head.

“Each and every derby match is different. We want to stay unbeaten and continue without a loss, but I'm sure Ipswich will be motivated for success as well. We are prepared for different scenarios and we want to win the points.”

Injury-wise, midfielder Todd Cantwell and centre-half Ben Godfrey suffered knocks in training but are expected to be fine, while another midfielder, Tom Trybull, suffered a knock at Leeds but has trained and will be available.

Midfielder Moritz Leitner is not yet ready for a first-team return after an ankle injury, while central defender Timm Klose is due to return to training next week.

Historically, the teams are very closely matched, Town winning 40 (38 in the league), losing 40 (34) and drawing 22 (19).

The 5-1 at Portman Road in 2011 under Lambert’s management was Norwich’s biggest derby victory, while Town have recorded 5-0 wins on three occasions, in 1946, 1977 and 1998.

At Portman Road in September, Gwion Edwards fired the Blues into a second-half lead but Moritz Leitner hit an equaliser for the Canaries as the game ended 1-1.

Edwards gave the Blues the lead with a deflected shot from the edge of the box on 57 but Leitner levelled with a low shot for the visitors 14 minutes later.

In February last year at Carrow Road, only a 95th minute equaliser from Timm Klose prevented the Blues from ending their wait for derby glory as Town and Norwich drew 1-1, skipper Chambers having given the visitors an 89th minute lead.

Chambers looked set to win it for the Blues with a header from a Martyn Waghorn corner but Klose nodded in Grant Hanley's cross seconds from time to save the game for the home side.

Town are without a win in 11 derbies - six defeats, five draws - their last victory having been at Portman Road towards the end of Norwich’s 2008/09 Championship relegation season when they won 3-2 in what proved to be Magilton’s final game as boss.

David Mooney put the Canaries in front before Town struck three times via Alan Quinn, Giovani Dos Santos (penalty) and Jon Stead with Sammy Clingan adding a consolation for the visitors towards the end, also from the spot.

Current keeper Bialkowski was on the bench for the Blues during his earlier loan spell at the club and is the only Town player to have previously been in a derby-winning squad.

Town last won at Carrow Road in February 2006 when an 88th-minute goal forced in by a combination of Danny Haynes's hand and Norwich defender Gary Doherty gave the Blues win.

The home side had gone ahead in the first half through Jonatan Johansson but the ex-Addick deflected in a Jimmy Juan freekick soon afterwards.

Blues boss Lambert was manager at Carrow Road between August 2009 and June 2012, a total of 142 matches, winning 70, drawing 35 and losing 37. During his time with the Canaries he took them to Football League One title in 2009/10, and second place in the Championship the following season.

Currently injured Town midfielder Tom Adeyemi came through the youth system at Norwich and made eight starts and nine sub appearances before moving on to Cardiff in July 2013.

First-team coach Matt Gill was at Norwich under Lambert, having joined them in July 2009. The midfielder moved on in June 2011 having made only seven starts and nine sub appearances.

Blues academy coach Alan Lee had a brief spell on loan at Carrow Road and played for the Canaries in the 2009 Portman Road derby.

Striker Jordan Rhodes joined Norwich on loan from Sheffield Wednesday in the summer. The former Kesgrave High School pupil came through the academy ranks at Playford Road having moved to the Blues’ youth set-up in March 2005 for £5,000 from Barnsley after his father Andy joined the club as goalkeeper-coach.

The striker made 10 sub appearances and scored one goal for the Town first team before being controversially sold to Huddersfield by then-manager Roy Keane in the summer of 2009 for a fee which, after top-ups and a sell-on following his £8 million move to Blackburn Rovers in August 2012, climbed to just over £1 million.

During his time at Ewood Park, Rhodes scored six goals in six games against the Blues, while he failed to find the net as Town drew 0-0 with his next club Middlesbrough at the Riverside in April 2016, in four games against the Blues for the Owls and in the Portman Road derby in September.

Former Town full-back David Wright is now the U18s coach at Norwich, where he had a spell on loan as a player before his time at Portman Road, while Steve McGavin, the Canaries' head of academy recruitment, was employed in a similar role at Town's academy until 2017 and is a former Blues youth player.

Sunday’s referee will be Peter Bankes from Merseyside, who has shown 117 yellow cards and four red in 27 games so far this season.

Bankes’s most recent Town match was the 1-1 draw at Bolton in January last year in which he booked Dominic Iorfa and home striker Gary Madine.

Before that he was in charge of the 2-0 home win against Reading the previous month in which he booked Jonas Knudsen, Martyn Waghorn and Adam Webster as well as four Royals.

He also refereed the 2-0 home defeat to Nottingham Forest in November 2016 in which he booked David McGoldrick and two visiting players.

Prior to that he was in charge of the 0-0 draw at Wolves three months earlier in which one of his linesmen disallowed what replays showed was a perfectly good Daryl Murphy goal.

He also awarded the home side a penalty after Webster had fouled Jon Dadi Bodvarsson, but Bialkowski saved the Icelander’s spotkick, and booked seven players, five of them from Town: Knudsen, Chambers, Christophe Berra, Teddy Bishop and sub Bru.

Bankes, who is in his fourth season as an EFL referee, had officiated in two Town games before that one, January 2016’s 0-0 draw at Burnley, in which he cautioned two Clarets, and the 2-2 home draw with Bristol City in September 2015 in which he booked three of the visitors.

Squad from: Gerken, Bialkowski, Bree, Pennington, Spence, Kenlock, Elder, Chambers (c), Collins, Nsiala, Skuse, Chalobah, Downes, Dozzell, Nolan, Bishop, Edwards, Dawkins, Judge, Sears, Keane, Quaner, Jackson, Harrison.

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BlueBlood90 added 13:15 - Feb 8
Possibly the least expectant and hopeful I've ever felt going into a game against Norwich. Really can't see us scoring never mind getting a result. However if 17 years in the Championship has taught us anything, it's that anything can happen even in the most unlikely of scenarios. COYB!!!!

ShropshireBluenago09 added 13:16 - Feb 8
If we go into this game with the same formation and tactics as previous games we will not be playing to our full potential

Saxonblue74 added 13:27 - Feb 8
The only chance we have is to throw the kitchen sink at their dodgy defence, that means 2 up top right from KO but doubt that will happen. Please Mr Lambert sir, let's have a proper go. I for one would not blame you if we try taking it to them and it backfires. They may have played well at Elland rd last week but they also rode their customary good fortune, first 2 goals took deflections. Krul could arguably have been red carded and Leeds never capitalised on a hat full of chances. That's all the positives I can come up with in my blind, blinkered, blue and white faith that we can get something out of this.....even if it's just a little pride from a decent effort!

ChrisFelix added 13:50 - Feb 8
I agree Shropshire blue. This season we build up our hopes on the back of all the media hype. Then the team comes onto the pitch with our powder puff midfield & it's deja vue.
Hate to say this but a Mccarthy team would have had a good chance of a point

JackSted added 14:22 - Feb 8
Spoiler - we won't

dirtydingusmagee added 15:24 - Feb 8
more chance of putting a Malteser in close orbit around the Sun , Dreading Sunday, . Seen nothing to suggest we will avoid a humiliation .Hope im wrong It could be a long time before we get another chance.

tractorboybig added 15:45 - Feb 8
Norwich are not top by accident, we are not bottom by accident. Could be painful...and my Norwich friends expect nothing short of a thrashing just to stuff lambert

heathen66 added 16:04 - Feb 8
PL, You talk a lot about 'going for it' however all I can see is the same Plan A with one up top and 2 holding midfielders.
Having conceded at least 2 goals in 15 league away games (7 under your management), it would seem that it is very unlikely that we will be able to 'hold on' for a 0-0.
Unfortunately it is all about wins now, so we need to as you say 'go for it'. Try something different...try 3-5-2. forget about the holding deep midfielder as that is not working neither. Surprise the opposition by playing Harrison and Keane up top with Judge in his favoured No.10 position. Play Edwards as a proper winger.
How was January's Player of the month (Chalobah) ever dropped as that is criminal.
Even if fit, why should Chambers come straight back in the side...Nsiala impressed last week, so reward him and let him impress again.
If we lose trying to win it then most on here will applaud you, Lose trying not to lose and expect criticism.

beornioblue added 16:12 - Feb 8
I've never dreaded a derby game against the budgies , I relish them , I love them... but not this time Im actually dreading it...I d love to be optimistic but anything other than a spanking id be genuinely surprised.
The only possible way of getting anything is if we play 2 up top 4 in the middle and 4 at the back and just go hammer and tongs at them, if we sit off and let them play anyone in blue is in for a really really bad sunday

Cloddyseedbed added 17:22 - Feb 8
All I hope for is we play 2 up front playing off each other, midfield told to drive forward and one holding midfielder. It would also be good if we finished the game with 11 players on the pitch and nobody lets emotions get the better of them and see red! We mustn't let them play because they are bl**dy good at that. We must not give them space and be in their faces as soon as they receive the ball. If it's 0-0 at half time we'll have one that half!

cat added 17:44 - Feb 8
“Hi Guys, weekends here and I hope you’re earmt a few quid!” (Lol)
I’m actually feeling a tad optimistic about this one for some crazy reason, maybe it’s because we have been so poor that we it might give us an edge on derby day, or I’ve brought into Lamberts hype. Whatever it is, I hope we make a fight of it and go toe to toe with our budgie foes, and not roll over and die. Get into em and **** them up! 👌

bugledog123 added 17:56 - Feb 8
COYB! I'll be watching and hoping....

unknown100 added 19:20 - Feb 8
Personally I think the only way we could muster a result is to play the element of surprise, play 442 Quarner and Keane up top and mess up all their preparation of the game, kill a bit of momentum and just win ugly

warktheline added 19:57 - Feb 8
Statistically we haven’t been creating chances, will Lambert ‘throw the kitchen sink’, extremely doubtful considering previous formations! Really can’t see any kind of positive result, more like ‘damage limitation’! A ‘humiliating 90 mins’ unfortunately is more than likely!

One a side note the lad Pukki won’t ‘scare’ many Premiership defences, a player Ipswich can only dream about signing under Evans! Fact is, he'll run Chambers ragged ( if he plays ) and that sums up the gap between us, Norwich and thereafter the Premiership !

TonyHumesIpswich added 20:14 - Feb 8
Think too many people are carrying false hope. A good equivalent fixture right now would be Manchester City at home to Huddersfield, who would you expect to win? Or Luton Town at home to AFC Wimbledon. Or Lincoln City at home to Notts County. The gap between these teams is clearly obvious. Love for ITFC is giving a few false hope. A draw would be nothing short of miraculous and if achieved should be cheered and celebrated.

thundercat600 added 20:40 - Feb 8
Don't play Chalobah, he will give a penalty away and can't read the game well at all

dirtydingusmagee added 20:53 - Feb 8
cant see the team handling the pressure on the pitch or from the terraces,it will be like playing in hell, i think we will bottle it .

Pedlarjak added 21:29 - Feb 8
Let’s hope for a major upset - and only a two or three goal defeat.

ITFCsince73 added 21:30 - Feb 8
TonyHumesIpswich. Lincoln played Notts County last weekend. Ended 1-1. Notts county the better side apparently.

Jonnosdreadlocks added 22:35 - Feb 8
Drop Skuse. Play Keegan tactics, its sh@t or bust now from here to the end of the season. To quote Iron Maiden "if your gonna die, die with your boots on!".

armchaircritic59 added 23:10 - Feb 8
For me, the way to play Norwich, is to press their dodgy defence, high up the pitch. I don't care how good a defence is, i'll wager any defender would prefer an easy time on the ball, to having someone in his face every time he receives it!

Of course we have to capitalise on any chances this pressing creates, and try and keep it tight at the back ourselves. Not easy, but i've seen enough Derby matches over the decades to know that anything can happen. I've certainly seen Norwich beat us more than once, when we've been hot favourites, though i think it's the first time it's been top against bottom!

As i said in another post, if every player gives 100% and doesn't leave anything on the pitch, that's probably all we can ask. Then whatever will be, will be!

eddiespearitt03 added 01:21 - Feb 9
Was expecting a bit more than a "going for it" war-cry. Norwich have the confidence and the skill to play through us if we do not concentrate on our man marking, tough tackling and our sloppy defending. Would like to see an Ipswich midfield supply the forwards a lot more than we have done so far this season. . Maybe we should use our goalkeeper as our 5th defender rather than a midfielder camped in our own half. If we do not attack the flanks and get the ball into the box we will certainly struggle. We just have to score goals.

shakytown added 06:40 - Feb 9
lets just face the honest truth we are a third rate little club with no future. Our defence is so bad it is scary, midfield ????????? do we actually have one or even one player who is of league 2 standard?????. I find it very hard to blame our lone isolated striker for not scoring 50 gaols this season as our saviour ( Lambert ) leaves him high and dry every game. poor team and tactics and we will not just drop to league one it will continue.

PJewellisaGod added 06:51 - Feb 9
Just hope Norwich feel as if they have been in a game. Too many performances this season have involved Very Weak tackling, Failure to pick up markers, Poor passing backwards and forwards and
Weak attempts at winning headers. We don't even win balls that we should win. Cancel these issues out and we have a chance. Be competitive and don't just let them win every ball and dictate play. COYB!


PJewellisaGod added 07:02 - Feb 9
Oh add ball watching. Too many times players wait for the ball to come to them once it's been passed. Opposition players are willing to put effort in and run and steal the ball before its reached its destination. It's simple stuff but vitally important. High balls into the area? Don't just wait for the ball to fall to you even if it's on your trajectory. It gives the opposition a chance to get inbetween and steal the ball. Crosses, same principle. COYB!

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