JJ so calm before the storm

New City striker Jonatan Johansson is showing few signs of pre-derby nerves as everyone gears up for the biggest date in the East Anglian football calendar.

New City striker Jonatan Johansson is showing few signs of pre-derby nerves as everyone gears up for the biggest date in the East Anglian football calendar.

“I've played in a few derby games and this is going to be a great game,” said the 30-year-old Finland international, who like the newly-arrived Zesh Rehman, is on loan at Carrow Road until the end of the season, and can hardly wait for the Coca-Cola Championship visit of Ipswich Town on Sunday (11.15am).

It is hardly a gentle introduction to life as a Canary - grabbing the tail-end of Tuesday night's 4-0 mauling by Reading before making his home debut in the heat of a derby battle.

“It's certainly a case of being thrown right into it, but hopefully we can get a good win on Sunday,” said Johansson.

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Curiously, Johansson's big pal, Mathias Svensson, also made his City debut against Ipswich following a mid-season switch from The Valley. And while Svensson's debut might have ended earlier than he would have liked with a first-half injury, the final score - and the fact that it left City top of the league at Portman Road - certainly saw Svensson and Leon McKenzie's Canary careers get off to a flying start.

Svensson, it now emerges, played a key role in persuading Johansson to drop down from the top flight and throw his weight into Norwich's play-off challenge.

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“I spoke to a few people about coming here - Mathias and Kevin Lisbie, who was here on loan earlier in the season - and they both only had good things to say about the club,” said Johansson, limited to just six appearances for the Addicks this season as ex-Ipswich star Darren Bent steals his thunder.

“It has been quite frustrating not playing and I just felt that I needed a fresh challenge - I needed to get away,” said Johansson, who arrived at The Valley from Glasgow Rangers for £3.75 million in July 2000.

His first sight of City's Colney training headquarters certainly helped convince “JJ” that the move was right, as did the news of Rob Earnshaw's £2.75 million move to Carrow Road 24 hours later.

“Matty (Svensson) had told me that the training set up was going to be good, but now I'm here it's very, very impressive,” said Johansson. “And Rob, too, is a very, very good player.

“Plus I know a lot of the people already at the club from playing against them last year. And so I know we have a very good team and should be able to push on for the play-offs - definitely.”

What the rest of the season brings after such a topsy-turvy year in Norwich City's history, only time will tell. Likewise, by the summer, who knows what the future might hold for Johansson?

“Would I think about a permanent move? Yes, definitely,” he said. “I've come here with a very open mind. I'm looking for a fresh challenge and looking to do well in every game. After that, we shall just have to wait and see.”

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