'That's certainly a game I am looking forward to' - New Ipswich boss Hurst excited by early Norwich clash
PUBLISHED: 11:22 21 June 2018 | UPDATED: 17:50 21 June 2018
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Paul Hurst is excited to get an early crack at ending Ipswich Town's poor record against rivals Norwich City.
The new Blues boss will begin his reign at home to Blackburn on August 4 but is already eyeing the clash with the Canaries at Portman Road, which is likely to be moved to September 2 into its traditional Sunday lunchtime slot.
The Blues have not beaten Norwich since 2009, a run stretching back 10 games, with Hurst pleased to have an early opportunity to put that right in what will be just his third home game in charge of his new club.
“I was hoping for a home game to start my career at Ipswich Town and that’s what we’ve got,” Hurst said.
“I’m very familiar with Blackburn after trying to challenge them last season for promotion to the Championship, so one I’m really looking forward to.
“I understand Ipswich haven’t had the better of their local rivals for some time and that’s certainly a game I was looking forward to seeing when it is. Thankfully it’s early.
“If we could manage to get a victory then that would help me build a relationship with the supporters. On a personal level we’ve got a lot of good games for myself, in terms of Blackburn, my former club Rotherham who beat us in the play-off final not so long ago and Sheffield Wednesday, who I grew up supporting.
“We’ve got two play-off teams in Aston Villa and Derby in the first six as well.”
Speaking on talkSPORT this morning, Hurst also revealed he will be taking his Ipswich players to Spain ahead of the new campaign, with a camp replacing the Ireland visit which had become a regular fixture under Mick McCarthy.
“The lads are in today (Thursday) and tomorrow for some testing and then we start of everyone together on Monday,” Hurst said.
“We’ve got six days straight and then we’re off to Spain for a week where we will get some really hard training in the legs, with games starting after that.
“We’ve got MK Dons and Barnet but a showpiece game with West Ham prior to the start of the season kicking off. Some good games, different levels but for me it’s about getting to know the players and making them understand what our expectations are and how we want to play.”
When asked by former Ipswich striker Alan Brazil if there will be new players arriving at the club, Hurst said: “Yes, but I don’t think much will change from when Mick was there in terms of the players we’ll be looking at. We realise we’re up against it, certainly in terms of teams that are coming down from the Premier League and the teams with parachute payments.
“Money helps but thankfully it’s not the be-all-and-end-all and I’m very optimistic about the season ahead and honoured to be the manager of this football club and its rich history.
“We want to try and create our own piece of history moving forward and it’s a very challenging league – I’m certainly up for it.”
And on bringing young players through into the first team, he added: “We have a lot of young players in the squad and I am more than happy to give them an opportunity, all I would say is they have to be good enough. I’m a big believer in age being a number, at both ends of the scale, and if they are good enough they will play.
“The Ipswich fans are known for wanting their own players to do well and have a tradition of bringing players through. They haven’t had one who has really made the jump, like Kieron Dyer, (for a while) but we have some young lads I am hopeful can come through and play regularly for the team.”