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Richard Stearman and Ipswich Town face tough Watford test

PUBLISHED: 09:58 19 February 2013 | UPDATED: 09:58 19 February 2013

Richard Stearman

Richard Stearman

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Ipswich v Watford: Richard Stearman insists he has more to offer as he prepares for his toughest test yet in an Ipswich Town shirt.

The Blues have conceded just one goal since his arrival on loan from Wolves and the 25-year-old has helped to further solidify a once-shaky rearguard, ahead of tonight’s visit of free-scoring Watford.

Having shipped an average of two goals a game prior to manager Mick McCarthy’s appointment, Town can boast a record of just eight goals against in their past nine league matches at Portman Road.

However, the Hornets arrive in Suffolk having plundered 36 goals on their travels this season, including 25 in their last 10 games, and thumped Birmingham, 4-0, away from home on Saturday.

While happy with his form, Stearman is all too aware that he must keep his standards high against a prolific attack that includes 33-goal strikeforce, Matej Vydra and Troy Deeney.

“It helps when you pick up results like the one we did against Middlesbrough,” said Stearman.

“I have been delighted with everything at the club and personally I am happy.

“I am getting there. It’s going to take a few games to pick my fitness up but I have played in a defence that has conceded just one in three games so hopefully we can keep that up.”

The Blues will be searching for their first home victory against the Hornets since 2004, a win that came in the same season that Ipswich last did the double over the Hertfordshire outfit.

But with Watford boasting 12 loan players, including eight from Italian club Udinese, Town’s defence may be given one of their sternest home examinations since McCarthy’s arrival.

“We looked at the two home games in a short space of time, against Blackpool (last Saturday) and Watford, and earmarked those as two games where we could pick up a few points,” said Stearman.

“But Watford are not near the top of the league for no reason and they are on a high after their win at the weekend.

“They have got an outstanding array of talent and a lot of goalscorers throughout their team but hopefully we can acquit ourselves well and come away with at least one if not three points.”

In today’s Star - Two pages of analysis, interviews and team news, ahead of Ipswich Town v Watford

Fans have a big role to play in the “massive” East Anglian derby this weekend – and must cheer on the Blues all the way to victory.

Punters are tipping Ipswich Town to win Sunday’s hotly-anticipated derby clash with old rivals Norwich City.

Ipswich Town skipper Luke Chambers says the new-look Blues squad should fear no-one in the Championship – and that includes Norwich this Sunday.

Respected Sky Sports pundit Danny Higginbotham insists cool heads will decide Sunday’s East Anglian Championship derby between Ipswich Town and Norwich City.

The Gunn family know all about the highs and lows that the East Anglian derby can provide and Angus is relishing the chance to follow in the footsteps of his father for Norwich this Sunday.

Ipswich Town skipper Luke Chambers issued a rallying call to his team-mates ahead of Sunday’s derby clash with Norwich City telling them “now is the time to stand-up and be counted.”

Ipswich Town legend and former England captain Terry Butcher has paid tribute to his son Christopher’s “larger than life character” and described him as a “formidable and true friend” following the 35-year-old’s death.

Ipswich Town skipper Luke Chambers has hit back at Nelson Oliveira’s claim that Norwich City are a ‘better club’ with ‘better players’ by calling the City striker ‘not very well educated’.

The fit-and-firing David McGoldrick is the Ipswich Town player that Norwich City fans would most like to have in the Canary ranks in Sunday’s East Anglian derby.

Former Ipswich Town star Marcus Stewart says players have to put themselves “in the shoes of the fans” on derby day.

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