Many things have come together to give Norwich City the upper hand in nearly 15 years of derby duels against Ipswich Town. Jon Rowe embodies perfectly what the Canaries need above all else on Saturday.

Rowe is in the final stages of his recovery from a hamstring injury. Unless David Wagner has opted for the double bluff then the German’s post-match assertion at Leicester City on Easter Monday is confirmation City’s Portman Road hero will be absent.

The 20-year-old is enjoying a stellar season for club and country, despite the frustrating injury interludes. But two goals on derby duty would surely rank highly as an achievement for a young player moulded in City’s academy, and who knows the significance of the neighbourly squabble.

Prior to December’s 2-2 Championship draw Rowe opted for some playful social media messaging which underlined he was counting the hours to his first senior derby. This was his verdict as he stood pitchside at Portman Road in the immediate aftermath of a headline-grabbing display.

"I agitated a few Ipswich fans on social media a few days ago, but that is all a part of it. I didn't feel that I went over the top," he said. "I felt it was a good way to set the tone ahead of the game and get everyone pumped up.

"We came away with something and I couldn't ask for more really. Obviously, there is pressure to keep the run going - but as footballers, you have to thrive off that pressure, and I am a player who wants to thrive off the pressurised moments.”

Alas, Rowe may not be available on the pitch. But his spirit must infuse every second, every tackle, every run, every action from Wagner and his squad.

Personality has been stamped through nearly 15 years of Norfolk hegemony. From the laughing Grant Holt, as he savoured a 5-1 win on the way to the Premier League, to the collective spirit and bloody-mindedness of that squad assembled by Neil Adams, and moulded by Alex Neil, to emerge from two fraught play-off semi-finals in 2015.

The Pink Un:

Be it James Maddison shushing the home fans when he struck the winner in Suffolk in October 2017, or Timm Klose’s guttural celebration to greet his flying header in February 2018 when victory was in sight for Ipswich. Treat Rowe’s salvo as the most recent entry.

All those players, past and present, have one thing in common; they love centre stage. They want to step forward, when others prefer to step back. They crave responsibility and enjoy the reflective spotlight from a defining role in a game that matters more than any other to Norwich City fans.

That may have been the problem over the border back in December. The hype and the sense of expectancy hung heavy around Portman Road that day. From the febrile, smoke-filled parade which greeted the Ipswich team coach to perhaps a sour post-match assessment from the impressive Kieran McKenna.

Maybe the Blues wanted it so much it hurt their chances of underlining a clear sense of two squads heading in the opposite direction. A 20-point gap in the table at kick-off in December will be a 23-point deficit on Saturday lunchtime.

Given how many points Wagner’s side have accumulated in the intervening period, that says everything about the body of work McKenna has shaped. The Blues’ latest comeback to sink Southampton on Easter Monday made it 31 points earned from losing positions. No other Championship rival has more.

Ipswich is locked in a title race of equals with Leeds and Leicester City.

A second consecutive promotion under the astute Northern Irishman would emulate Paul Lambert’s previous achievement at Carrow Road.

If the occasion seeped into their psyche back in December, you can be sure McKenna will not make the same mistake again. With or without Rowe, Norwich will have to go to a place they arguably have yet to reach under Wagner.   

Talent and temperament are a given when assessing what it takes to prevail in this type of tribal contest. Underpinning it all is personality. Do the Canaries possess a player, or even a team, ready to grab Rowe’s mantle?

We will find out in what surely ranks as the biggest East Anglian derby for a decade. It is not solely about points, or bragging rights, it is the psychological shifts that could push either club over the line towards a greater prize.