Big match nerves take a grip

PUBLISHED: 14:46 18 November 2006 | UPDATED: 09:50 14 September 2010

Yes I know it's been unseasonably mild of late (unless you're a Canary exiled in the north of Scotland) but even 4.55 p.m. last Saturday managed to warm the cockles of this little heart as the lads managed, with a large parcel of help from Lady Luck, to hang onto their one goal advantage over the Throstles in the West Midlands.

Yes I know it's been unseasonably mild of late (unless you're a Canary exiled in the north of Scotland) but even 4.55 p.m. last Saturday managed to warm the cockles of this little heart as the lads managed, with a large parcel of help from Lady Luck, to hang onto their one goal advantage over the Throstles in the West Midlands. (And no, there is absolutely no truth in the rumour that our new manager was last seen before kick off sprinkling copious amounts of holy water on the Hawthorns goals to ward off evil spirits - though if he did it sure as hell worked!)

Add to that the satisfaction of knowing that thousands of striped fans would walk away from their place of pilgrimage bemoaning the fact that they ever sold the little man because “he just had to score against us didn't he?” - and how many times have we said words to that effect as countless returning Canaries have made us wonder what might have been if only…after they had buried one in the net? Don't worry; with a new job and long hours on the go I don't have the time (yet!) to go put my anorak on and hike through mountains of statistics, but there have certainly been a fair few over the years, Jamie Cureton being the most recent of course, even though the gathered masses on that day can still be heard screaming “offside”. (Surely that official wasn't a woman disguised as a man was it?)

Returning to the subject of Earnie, I remember all too well the feelings of West Brom fans at the time of his sale for their fan sites were inundated with comments about how he had never let them down when given a chance, how he had shown immense patience with the then manager (Bryan Robson), and how he was just too good a player for them to be letting go because of, as they perceived it, some personality clash with the afore-mentioned boss. There was also the small matter of their strikeforce being depleted due to injuries in January 2006, so hardly a good time to be letting someone of Rob Earnshaw's quality leave, but let him go they did…and jolly glad we are, that goes without saying. Long may he have his striking boots on, and a couple this weekend would be very sweet - understatement of the year!

All of which leads thoughts to 40 miles down the A140 from the fair city, or 90 minutes on the train due south east from where I am now billeted!

Town have had a poor run at home recently and will be fired up for the derby match on Sunday in more ways than one, that's for sure. For our part I hope that thoughts of revenge for that defeat and dreadful display at Carrow Road last season will be doing all the firing up that's needed.

For me I'm afraid the Sky gods will providing the entertainment at lunchtime, although I will not, I assure you, have eaten anything prior to kick off as derby day is one day, I confess, that the world's entire population of cabbage whites hatches out in my stomach! Nor will I have any champagne (cheap fizzy white wine in truth!) on ice for tempting fate has never been my way; however, I shall have a plan A and a plan B in place for how I spend the rest of the day according to the outcome. (Plan A or B can be selected if honours are even. Plan A involves a few bits of pampering and luxuries in keeping with delirium and wild celebration of course!)

At least we are going into the game with some momentum whereas they could really use a good win in a crunch game to turn the tide a bit. Most of us have been supporters long enough to know that that last sentence actually means very little in terms of what happens out there on the day, and Lady Luck, for all we know, might be on the Portman Road turf right this minute digging an invisible divot to scupper us in some way.

On the other hand, Peter Grant might just have a spare bottle of that holy water tucked somewhere up his sleeve, ready to douse the whole lot of woodwork with once again. Me? I'd prefer it if I still had a reason to have a manicure after the event and if their ground would be awash after the game…with blue tears. Harsh maybe, but spoken as a true Canary!

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