The verdict: Rejuvenated Ipswich Town should be relishing their derby clash with Norwich City
PUBLISHED: 11:45 19 February 2017 | UPDATED: 16:55 21 February 2017
© Copyright Stephen Waller
It’s the East Anglian derby on Sunday, and Blues fans should be relishing their trip to Norwich.
A month ago, Town supporters may have felt a touch of trepidation about facing their bitter rivals, given their poor form at the turn of the year.
However, another good display on Saturday, a 1-1 draw at home to play-off chasing Leeds, saw Mick McCarthy’s team notch their sixth point in four games.
In isolation, that’s not spectacular form, but when you consider that injuries and suspensions have bitten, positive results against leaders, Brighton, Leeds, fellow play-off hopefuls Reading and Aston Villa, who relinquished their unbeaten home record to Town, were probably not expected.
Following the two-game embarrassment against non-league Lincoln City in the FA Cup, there’s a sense of pride in the stands again.
The dissenters, calling for McCarthy’s head a month ago, have abated slightly, and finally there seems to be a chink of light at the end of a long, dark tunnel.
McCarthy has found a formation which suits his players and his January arrivals have added a much-needed impetus.
Emyr Huws ran the midfield in the first half, whilst Jordan Spence looked comfortable on the ball, playing at right wing-back.
Then there is the old guard, the likes of David McGoldrick and skipper Luke Chambers, who were impressive at the weekend – the latter playing with two cracked ribs.
Chambers epitomises what a good captain is all about and how a club should make their fans feel.
He’s had his shaky moments this season, but never gives less than his all and, right now, is in excellent form at the heart of the Blues’ defence. A new contract for the 31-year-old should be high on owner Marcus Evans’ agenda.
Town will be minus Tom Lawrence, but should have nothing to fear against the Canaries, who are seven points off the play-offs, despite having been in the Premier League last season.
They suffered a shock 2-1 defeat at Burton on Saturday and City fans will be expecting a reaction.
That in itself will turn the heat up on the Canaries in a pressure-cooker game, and that could play into the hands of a Town team eyeing their first win at Carrow Road since February 2006.