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Old Farm will be special for Norwich City’s Old Firm veteran Steven Whittaker

Norwich City defender Steven Whittaker has a big season ahead for club and country. Picture by Stefano Gnech/Focus Images Ltd

Norwich City defender Steven Whittaker has a big season ahead for club and country. Picture by Stefano Gnech/Focus Images Ltd

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Old Firm veteran Steven Whittaker is looking forward to his first taste of the Old Farm derby when Norwich City face an early Championship trip to rivals Ipswich.

Whittaker experienced the intensity of a Glasgow duel in his time at Rangers and the Scottish international is under no illusions what is at stake when Neil Adams’ squad head to Portman Road on August 23.

The 27-year-old is taking a step into the unknown with his first season in the second tier after operating exclusively in the top flight north and south of the border.

“I’ve only seen it from the outside in my career but it is something I am going to relish. I’m looking on it as a challenge and a new experience for me,” he said. “There are a lot of good teams. Not just the promoted sides but Wigan and Blackburn are big clubs and Derby did ever so well last season. For me, there will be seven or eight teams all thinking the same and we have to make sure we stay one step ahead of them.

“I know the Ipswich match is the fifth of the season. I made a point of looking up that one so I know it comes early and the guys who have been here a while have already spoken about that. We are all looking forward to that as well.”

Whittaker has endured a stop, start spell with the Canaries since cutting his ties with Rangers but the defender has no regrets about leaving Ibrox.

“Obviously what happened with Rangers at that time has been well-documented,” he said. “I knew I could do better than playing in the Scottish third division and I didn’t want to spend three years of my career trying to come back up the leagues. Norwich offered me the challenge to come south and I have actually enjoyed it. I still have two years here so I am looking forwards to what we can achieve.

“The first year I was here I was hampered by injuries, the second I was fine. I trained all of the season but I just didn’t get the games so obviously when you want to play and you don’t that is a disappointment. I am used to playing a lot more than I did last season when I was up in Scotland. All I can do is put myself in a position where I am pushing to be in contention and when I get a chance it is up to me to make sure I can’t be edged out of the team.”

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