Ipswich Town boss believes Norwich City will be a real threat and force this season

Mick McCarthy

Mick McCarthy - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy has backed Norwich City to be in the Championship promotion hunt come the end of the season, ahead of Sunday’s East Anglian derby at Portman Road (12 noon).

The Canaries were relegeated after a single season in the Premier League, in May, following a promotion campaign that saw them defeat Ipswich in a two-legged play-off semi-final on their way to the top flight.

The Blues have taken four points from their opening three games of the season, Norwich seven, and McCarthy is expecting a tough game against a team packed with Premier League experience.

“We know they have got a good squad of players, having been relegated from the Premier League and kept the majority of their squad together, they will be a real threat and a force in the push for promotion,” McCarthy said.

Asked if Town were underdogs, having not beaten Norwich home or away since 2009, McCarthy added: “Of course, people will think I am playing mind games. Yes we are, but then we are at home so that gives us a bit of an advantage.

“I don’t want to get into talking about underdogs and favourites.

“I would like to think we can stand toe to toe with them and play just as well.”

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While Grant Ward, Teddy Bishop and Daryl Murphy are amongst Town’s biggest threats, Norwich can list the likes of Euro 2016 stars Robbie Brady and Wes Hoolahan in their squad.

On Hoolahan, McCarthy said: “Wes is excellent, he has found his niche (in how he plays).

“I remember going to watch him play for the (Republic of Ireland) under-21s against Scotland, when I saw Christophe Berra playing and he was playing left wing.

“He’s not that (left winger). He drifts around, is difficult to pick up, has an eye for a pass and a goal and is a real threat.”

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