Ipswich Town have not beaten their arch rivals Norwich City since that 3-2 victory in 2009, in what was to be Jim Magilton’s final game at the helm. A victory against the Canaries is very long overdue and I have an inkling it might just happen on Sunday!
Why am I so confident when the Blues have yet to win a game in six attempts? Well, for a number of reasons actually. Manager Paul Hurst, when quizzed on stats before we confronted both Sheffield Wednesday and Derby, said boldly that statistics were there to be broken and sadly that prophesy came true! How ironic then it would be if another one was upended on Sunday and Town defeated Norwich at Portman Road! Town may be struggling at the moment but so too are the men from across the border and this ‘old farm’ encounter could be the catalyst for making or breaking both sides seasons.
Former Blues legend Kevin Beattie thinks that this game has come at the right time for the Tractor Boys and so do I! Then we have another former Ipswich and England centre-back saying much the same thing. Russell Osman will be taking in his first match of the season on Sunday and although he has been critical of the Blues so far, he is also of the view that this game could engineer a decisive turning point. In an article in the East Anglian Daily Times, he is upbeat about the prospects of a home victory and said, ” I couldn’t think of a better fixture for Ipswich to be going into. If the team play well and win, they can be heroes. It could turn the season around just like that!”
And if we get Jonathan Walters back before the loan deadline ends, then that would be a massive plus. His presence alone – even sitting on the bench would put the fear of God into the opposition and finally make Chris Sutton eat his words!
Ipswich boss Hurst is still busy trying to get another experienced central defender into the club but he has suggested in his weekly press conference today, that it now seems highly unlikely that it will be Curtis Tilt of Blackpool. Then again, if that ludicrous decision to wave a red card at Aristote Nsiala is overturned, then we have far less to worry about – in the short term at least and of course, Luke Woolfenden is on the mend as well.
Town have not been outplayed by anyone so far this season and it is just the cutting edge and a bit more experience at this level that we have lacked so far. Bringing in Jordan Graham might help but what might help even more is the return of the prodigal son. Walters may be 34 but he is still in good shape and has proved time and again how he can ruffle a few feathers, and against the Canaries, this is probably all we will need!
F.W. – editor of Vital Ipswich