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Derby day win might just put Norwich City back in the play-off hunt

PUBLISHED: 07:57 24 February 2017 | UPDATED: 10:41 24 February 2017

Wes Hoolahan celebrates putting Norwich City ahead in their Championship play-off semi-final against Ipswich Town in May 2015. Photo: Paul Chesterton

Wes Hoolahan celebrates putting Norwich City ahead in their Championship play-off semi-final against Ipswich Town in May 2015. Photo: Paul Chesterton

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A lot of wrongs can be put right come Sunday lunchtime if Norwich beat their old enemies Ipswich Town after they’ve made the short journey up the A140 to Carrow Road.

Gary Setchell, a formidable opponent for Iwan Roberts. Picture: Matthew Usher.Gary Setchell, a formidable opponent for Iwan Roberts. Picture: Matthew Usher.

I don’t care what anybody says, it’s been a disappointing season up to now for the Canaries, with a real mixed bag of results and performances, but three points on Sunday could win over quite a few disgruntled, disheartened Norwich fans and just might get the club’s play-off hopes back on track.

It’s a real tough one to call for me.

Ipswich are in fine form – even though they’ve won only one of their last four games they haven’t lost in those four and considering they’ve played Reading, Brighton and Leeds it quite clearly shows Mick McCarthy’s men are in good fettle and they will be full of confidence, looking for a bit of pay-back after what happened in the play-off semi-final in 2015.

Since 2008, Norwich have had by far the better of the East Anglian derby, losing just one of their last nine meetings and winning six of those so, quite clearly, they’ve been the dominant side. But that counts for nothing come noon on Sunday.

If Ipswich are to beat Norwich at Carrow Road for the first time in over 11 years they are going to have to do it without their best player by far this season and their top scorer – Tom Lawrence, who is suspended after picking up his 10th booking of the season a couple of weeks ago.

Tom has scored eight league goals this season and without those eight goals Ipswich would be in real trouble.

I saw a lot of Tom when he was on loan at Cardiff and he really disappointed me, he seemed devoid of confidence and had really lost his way. He lost his place in the Wales squad and failed to make Chris Colman’s 23-man squad for the Euros, but Mick McCarthy has certainly got his career back on track and he’ll be bitterly disappointed that the Welshman won’t be available for Sunday.

Alex Neil’s men haven’t lost in their last five league home games and have been on fire in front of goal, scoring 15 goals in those five games, so they really should be going into this game fully confident of winning the game, even though it was a bit of a disaster last Saturday losing at fifth-from-bottom Burton.

Once again it was a case of shambolic defending, something we’ve all come far too accustomed to from Norwich City away from home this season.

With both Sheffield Wednesday losing against Brentford on Tuesday night the gap between themselves and Norwich is just seven points rather than the 10 had Wednesday won the game, as most people expected them to. So, it’s still all to play for, but Norwich’s away form has to change and if that happens I still think a top-six finish isn’t out of their reach.

Setchell was tough as nails

I was sad to hear this week that Gary Setchell left his role as King’s Lynn manager after six years in charge at The Walks.

Gary, pictured above, is a great lad and a proper character who I’ve known for a long old time. I never played against Gary as a professional but did play against him in the Norfolk Vets League when he was turning out for North Lynn and I was wearing the yellow of Cringleford and I’m quite glad I only had to face him the one occasion.

Gary was as tough as nails and I was quite pleased our paths hadn’t crossed earlier in our careers as it would have been a bruising battle between two big units.

I’m a lot wiser these days and when we played against North Lynn and I’d taken one look at Gary before the game I decided there on the spot to go and play against his central defensive partner for the next 90 minutes.

I made sure I avoided him like the plague as there was no way he was going to boot me with that lethal left foot he had!

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