Championship rivals Norwich City and Ipswich Town ready for biggest clash in a decade

  • Andy Ward looks at the preparations ahead of Saturday's clash between Norwich City and Ipswich Town

EFL Championship rivals Norwich City and Ipswich Town are preparing to do battle on Saturday in a match being described as the biggest between them for a decade.

The Tractor Boys, sitting top of the division, visit Carrow Road for a 12.30pm kick-off, with the hosts also desperate for the points to keep up their push for the play-off spots.

With the prize for both a spot in the Premier League, the match between the East Anglian rivals has more riding on it that arguably any clash since they met in the 2015 play-offs.

On that occasion, Norwich City got the better of it, going on to defeat Middlesbrough at Wembley under Alex Neil.

Police say they will have extra officers on duty on Saturday, in an attempt to avoid a repeat of the trouble at the reverse fixture which saw a can of beer thrown at the car of Norwich City co-owner Delia Smith.

Around 2,000 Ipswich fans are expected to make the journey to Norfolk, with extra trains laid on to minimise disruption, and officers around to guide fans to the ground.

Supt Kris Barnard, who is leading the policing operation, said: "There will be a significant number of policing resources and officers in the city centre before and after the match to keep people safe, welcome fans and assist anybody who needs us.

He added: "Our focus will be those people whose behaviour spoils the enjoyment or the safety of others, and also managing any issues in areas where we have seen disorder and antisocial behaviour at other matches.”

Analysis: 'The biggest derby in years' - Andy Ward, ITV News Anglia

An East Anglian Derby is always a huge game, but this particular one feels even more significant than usual.

First against sixth, two counties going head-to-head, both teams dreaming of making it to the top flight.

The sub-plots are endless. Can table-toppers Ipswich take another huge stride towards Premier League promotion, or will Norwich throw a huge spanner in the works?

Is this the time for Town to end their 15-year wait for a derby win, or will the Canaries make it 14 games unbeaten against their biggest rivals?

Whichever way you look at it, this is the biggest derby in years. Only the play-off semi-final showdown in 2015 can run it close in recent times.

And on that subject, a Norwich win would set up the possibility of the two clubs meeting in the play-offs again this season as well.

If we thought this weekend's game was one to relish, just imagine that?

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