Old pals act for ex-Tractor Boy
Michael Bailey Former Ipswich Town man Ian Westlake is hoping his new side can continuing the painful start to Norwich City's season - and put a smile on his friends' faces in the process.
Former Ipswich Town man Ian Westlake is hoping his new side can continuing the painful start to Norwich City's season - and put a smile on his friends' faces in the process.
The 25-year-old ex-Portman Road trainee will turn out for Wycombe Wanderers at Carrow Road tomorrow (3pm) have played twice against City as an Ipswich player, losing both times - but he still has fond memories of dashing the hopes of Norwich fans in the past.
And although the Clacton-born midfielder is not expecting too rough a reception from the home crowd, he knows a few of his Ipswich supporting friends - including his girlfriend - will be hoping he can help continue city stalling League campaign.
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“The games I played in for Ipswich, especially the one at their place, they didn't go very well for us,” said Westlake. “The best one was when I was on the bench and Danny Haynes scored with a handball.
“Winning at Norwich as an Ipswich player was always one to look out for and that goal was a highlight for me.
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“I don't know about the reception I'll get really. I only played a few games against them so it doesn't really worry me. I'm there to do a job for Wycombe and hopefully we'll do well.
“If that pleases my friends in Ipswich then there we are.”
Westlake joined newly promoted Chairboys as a free agent in the summer and although they only have one point to show from their first three League games, encouraging performances against Leeds and at Charlton have been enough to suggest they could pull off a second Carrow Road surprise for the Canaries in League One.
With Tuesday night's draw at home to Southend arguably their worst performance of the season, the former Leeds and Cheltenham midfielder also believes his side have a point to prove at Norwich.
“Away to Charlton I was injured but the boys did really well and could've nicked a draw,” said Westlake. “Against Leeds we really should've gone in a goal up but the second half they were the better side.
“Then Southend was our worst performance but the one we got a point in, so we can take confidence from the other games and how we've played. But the gaffer wasn't pleased after Tuesday, so we've probably got a point to prove on Saturday as well.
“We've played Charlton, Leeds and we now have Norwich. They're probably the three best supported teams in the league and will be there or thereabouts at the end of the season, so hopefully we'll put on a good performance.
“It would be nice to take some points off those sides. When I was at Leeds, people came to us in League One and it was always a big game for them.
“Norwich will go through that all season, the other teams will come looking forward to playing in front of one of the biggest crowds they'll get and they will all get their game up for it.”
Wycombe will be the first visitors to Carrow Road since City's 7-1 drubbing at the hands of Colchester United - with the man who instigated that rout, Paul Lambert, taking charge of the Canaries for the first time.
And Westlake believes City are still one of the candidates to go up, something Norwich fans will be hoping Lambert can help the players start to prove - and quickly.
“Manchester United have just lost and I don't think anyone is writing them off,” said Westlake. “I thought Norwich would start winning games like Leeds and Charlton have, and I'm sure they're disappointed at how they've started the season.
“But you never know in football. It's very early days and they can still get promoted, considering the size of the club and all that.”
Lambert was also boss at Wycombe for two years before joining Colchester last summer, taking the club to a League Two play-offs and a League Cup semi-final.
“There's not that many left (from Paul's time at the club),” said Westlake. “Matt Bloomfield was here with him, but I'm sure the fans remember him. He did a good job at the club.
“Wycombe are a really great club, great facilities and stadium, and the manager and staff are really good. The boys are brilliant and I'm really enjoying it.
“I just hope we can start performing the way we can because we're quite a decent little team and hopefully we can surprise a few this season, starting on Saturday.”