Canary legend on Sunday's hotly-anticipated matchEAST Anglian derby day ‘is the fans’ day’, according to former favourite of the Carrow Road terraces Darren Huckerby.
Anticipation is building in the area as Norwich City prepare to go head-to-head with rivals Ipswich Town in their Sky Bet Championship match this Sunday.
Just one point separates the two teams in the division’s playoff places ahead of the game, and Huckerby, when speaking with canaries.co.uk for an exclusive interview, believes this weekend’s clash carries even more significance than usual.
“It’s never just a normal game when it’s Ipswich, but it’s more than that this time. It’s about pushing us towards where we need to be, so it’s got more significance than some derbies of the past,” he said.
“This is about stepping up, doing the job and getting the points to let the fans enjoy it, because this is the fans’ day.
“It’s all about sending them home happy so they’ve got a bit of a one-up on the people they know. It’s a big game around here and the supporters have been looking forward to it for weeks.”
Huckerby represented the Canaries seven times against the Tractor Boys and experienced both the triumph of victory and the disappointment of defeat.
When picking his derby highlight, he was split between two choices.
“My first one was when we beat them 3-1 in the year we won the league in 2004, when Malky (Mackay) scored two and I managed to get one,” he explained.
“But then, scoring at their place when I got the winner in a 1-0 in 2005 was nice. I always got quite a bit of stick from Ipswich fans!
“It’s definitely not like any other game. I got sent off in one of these games – and I didn’t tackle! That shows you what it can do. At the end of the day, it’s all about three points.
“I’m really looking forward to Sunday. My kids have been banging on about it for weeks. It’s a massive game. I’m sure I’ll get a bit of stick on Twitter if we lose, but I’m more than confident that we’ve got a good enough squad and the right mind-set to go and get the job done.”
Huckerby, currently a coach within the Club’s Academy, has kept a close eye on City’s progress this season and believes momentum is building at the ideal point of the campaign.
“If you’re winning games there is a different atmosphere because people start believing. At this present time, there’s confidence going into each game and because there’s a short turnaround, all you do is think about that next game,” he added.
“The manager’s come in with new ideas. He’s not changed the playing squad that much, but I think he’s given them just a bit of belief.
“The big players in the squad are performing. Looking at a lot of the teams in this league, when we’re at 100 per cent we’re more than a match for near enough every team in the league.
“I won this league with two different teams, and the thing that was the same in both was the belief that you can go into any game and win. That’s the main thing.
"I’ve played in teams where even if the other team scored first, you still had the belief that it didn’t matter. You always had the better players and better will to win, and I think we’ve got that at the minute.
“It’s that inner belief that whatever happens, you’re strong enough and you’ve got the mentality to go and win the game.”
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