‘Derby day is a chance to hit the reset button’ - Lee remembers last Town win at Carrow Road
PUBLISHED: 17:00 06 February 2019 | UPDATED: 10:49 07 February 2019
Former Ipswich Town striker Alan Lee knows a thing or two about the East Anglian derby.
The Irishman’s first taste of the big game came in the Blues’ last victory at Carrow Road, as Joe Royle’s class of 2005/06 left Norfolk with a 2-1 victory thanks to the hand of striker Danny Haynes.
He scored at Carrow Road in 2007, in a 2-2 draw, in what proved to be his last derby appearance in a blue shirt as he ended with an unbeaten record in four games against the old enemy.
Then there was the time he wore yellow in the big game during a loan spell with the Canaries in 2009. The Blues won 3-2 that day but haven’t beaten their Norfolk neighbours since.
This time around the two teams could not be further apart, with Norwich sitting top and Ipswich rock bottom, but despite the odds being stacked against them, Lee sees an opportunity for Ipswich to give their survival chances a real boost.
“That game in 2006 was my first season at the club I think and my first taste of the game with Norwich and it was absolutely brilliant,” Lee said.
“The atmosphere was incredible and to get the win was something else. It was my header that went back across goal for Danny to score and I think, on reflection, it possibly hit his hand before going in.
“We hadn’t had the greatest season up until that point but, wherever you are in the league and whatever your situation, these games can be so positive if you win them and a chance to hit the reset button.
“It’s going to be hard for Ipswich because Norwich are a very good side with a very strong squad and bench but I’ve been in these kind of situations before and this is all about heart and character.
“I wasn’t at the game (against Sheffield Wednesday) at the weekend but my friends who were said it was all a bit flat, so this is the perfect chance for them to put that behind them.”
The Blues’ high turnover of players in both the summer and January means Paul Lambert side will include a host of players experiencing a Carrow Road derby for the first time, but Lee believes they will relish the opportunity.
He also believes Lambert will not be phased by the reception he is likely to receive, having crossed the East Anglian divide following his highly successful spell in charge of the Canaries.
“I think a lot of footballers are the same in that they relish the big games and get up for the big atmospheres,” he said.
“Whoever was the manager of the opposition in games like this you are going to get a bit of stick so I’m sure Paul will be expecting that.
“A lot of it is pantomime stuff anyway and he’s been in a lot of big situations during his career.”