Sutton certain Ipswich will go down and admits ‘incredible’ Norwich duo Pukki and Farke have proved him wrong
PUBLISHED: 06:30 29 January 2019 | UPDATED: 13:49 29 January 2019
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Ipswich Town are going down, according to former Norwich City striker Chris Sutton.
The outspoken ex-City striker was asked whether his former Celtic team-mate Paul Lambert will be able to save rock-bottom Town and simply replied: “He can’t.”
With Ipswich seven points adrift of safety ahead of their trip to Carrow Road a week on Sunday, Sutton continued: “Would I be disappointed to see them go down? Yeah, I would, but they’re going down, so...
“Everybody likes derby games and you look at Ipswich and the great history which they have – but they’ve made a rod for their own back.
“I know Ipswich fans get slightly unhappy with me when I bring them back to the great job that Mick McCarthy did, and I know some of those situations that occurred with McCarthy and the supporters.
“There was a bit of a standoff and this, that and the other, but I thought he did a fantastic job with the resources.”
The former Canaries striker also admits he was surprised to see Teemu Pukki arrive at Carrow Road on a free transfer last summer, having previously struggled to impress at Celtic.
Norfolk-born Sutton often works as a pundit covering Scottish football, after his hugely successful time at Celtic between 2000 and 2006, winning the title four times.
Pukki scored nine goals in 37 games for the Glasgow giants in just over a year, after signing from Schalke, but then got his career back on track with a goal-laden four years in Denmark with Brondby.
The 28-year-old Finland international has managed 18 goals in just 29 games for the Canaries this season, proving a big hit with another of Sutton’s former clubs.
“Incredible,” City’s top scorer of the 1993-94 season said. “He had a tough time, it didn’t work out for him at Celtic, he was in and out of the team a bit, but I didn’t see a player in there, so credit him for knuckling down.
“He’s gone away, Norwich have picked him up and when he signed I said ‘I’m surprised they’ve signed him, heaven help them’ and he’s certainly proved me wrong!
“I’m pleased for him, I’ve got a lot of admiration for Pukki and he’s the key man for Norwich City, he’s scored a lot of late goals.”
The Finn’s fine form has played a major role in the Canaries putting together an unexpected push for automatic promotion, sitting second with 17 games remaining.
Sutton was among the pundits who didn’t expect Daniel Farke to manage such a big improvement on finishing 14th during his first campaign, but is full of praise for the work of City’s head coach.
“Incredible really,” the 45-year-old continued. “He had a tough job on in terms of the parachute payments are gone and the best player in James Maddison, they got good money for him but Norwich have had to go about it a different way.
“It’s good to see them giving youngsters an opportunity instead of going back to how it was back many years ago when I started.
“I think there was a time when Daniel Farke was pretty close to the sack so to be sat where they are, he has done a remarkable job there, a team who are punching well above their weight in my opinion.
“But they’ve got something, the fact they score so many late goals, they’ve got some belief and confidence in the manager and the way they play.”
Sutton scored 43 goals in 126 games for the Canaries, top scoring with 25 top-flight goals during the 1993-94 campaign and playing a key part in the Uefa Cup run of that season – before being sold to Blackburn for a then British record fee of £5million.
The former Chelsea and Celtic striker was speaking in his role as ambassador for The Sportsman and was also asked to pick his three favourite goals in a Norwich shirt.
“There were a few!” the former Hellesdon High School pupil said. “There was a goal at home against Liverpool (scoring a brace in a 2-2 draw) which was a pretty good one, where I bent it in, had a bit of yardage on it, 25 yards.
“One at Old Trafford, outside of the left foot, 25 yards (during another 2-2 draw during 1993-94) and one at Southampton, a 1-0 victory, when I had a good season, 25 Premier League goals.
“They were three of my favourites.”
That superb season remains the best return of any City player in the top tier, when Sutton bettered Ted MacDougall’s total of 23 from 1975-76.
He had also helped Mike Walker’s team to the club’s highest-ever finish of third place during the inaugural 1992-93 Premier League season, playing alongside speedy winger Ruel Fox, another player who was sold by former chairman Robert Chase during City’s financial struggles, to Newcastle.
“My favourite player was Ruel Fox,” Sutton concluded. “A player I had a good relationship with on and off the field, but I thought he was a fantastic player.
“He helped me a lot in terms of link-up play and gave me a really good understanding. The time I spent with him, learning the game, training, not just with him but he was probably the biggest part and someone who I’m very grateful for and thankful for that I played with him in terms of a football education – great player.”
• Sutton was promoting the Perfect 10 game run by The Sportsman, where you can predict 10 football results to win £10,000 for free. See Sportsman.com/games for full details