How to win at Portman Road

PUBLISHED: 15:06 10 April 2008 | UPDATED: 15:31 10 September 2010

Michael Bailey

As Norwich City aim to become only the second Coca-Cola Championship team to leave Portman Road with three points this season, a familiar face knows what it takes - Malky Mackay.

As Norwich City aim to become only the second Coca-Cola Championship team to leave Portman Road with three points this season, a familiar face knows what it takes - Malky Mackay.

The former Canaries defender is currently among the coaching staff with Aidy Boothroyd at Watford, the only club to defeat Ipswich Town in their own back yard 20 home matches after Nathan Ellington earned the Hornets a 2-1 win in February.

And having helped the Canaries to numerous derby day successes - the fondly remembered Scot was never on the losing side against City's fierce rivals - Mackay was ready to share his secret.

How do you beat Ipswich at home?

“With difficulty,” admitted the Scot. “We had a fantastic result on the day and certainly knew going into the game that they had an excellent home record. They pass the ball well and have got a nice pitch and 25,000 people there making the atmosphere quite noisy.

“We had to match them and start at a high tempo, harry them and not let them get into their rhythm. In the end we got our goals at the right times and it was a fantastic result.

“Every team is different and has their own attributes and Glenn [Roeder] will have his views on how his side goes about beating Ipswich with the players he has.

“That's how we did it, by imposing the game on them, but Sunday will be a local derby and there are a lot of other factors involved in that.”

Mackay admitted the derby games still hold and fond place in his footballing heart and, as some of City's current loan players will find out on Sunday lunchtime, you never really appreciate what is involved in a meeting between Norwich and Ipswich until you see if for yourself.

“They were fantastic for me. Having come down from Glasgow and the Celtic/Rangers games, I didn't realise the ferocity involved. It really is big derby, with the whole of Norfolk versus the whole of Suffolk,” said Mackay.

“The first one I went to there were Ipswich fans herded in by police and I was wondering 'what's going on here'. That was when I realised what the game means and how passionately it is felt. The game means a lot to everyone and they were some of the biggest games I have played in.

“With some games, depending on which ground you play at they can be quite dead, but every derby I played in, whether it was at Carrow Road or Portman Road, was always electric and it got to you; that little bit of extra butterflies in your stomach. There was always a bit extra involved in the games and the fans always made it that little bit extra special.”

Currently reserve boss at Watford, Mackay is also helping out with first team coaching duties alongside the former Canary duo of Hornets' manager Aidy Boothroyd and Norwich's former first team coach Martin Hunter, as Mackay learns the coaching ropes in Hertfordshire.

“I'm enjoying the role and getting a lot of hands on experience. I have only just stared. Really it is my first year having been involved in it - being on the bench for the first time, helping with Aidy and learning my trade, so to speak. I'm just making my way here and hopefully I will be in for a while under Aidy.

“We've been up [to Norwich] a couple of times and it's always nice and one I look at in terms of results on Saturdays. I have plenty of great memories in terms of my football and my life there.”

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