Wright learned intensity of derby feeling with City

Ipswich Town's former Norwich loan defender David Wright revealed yesterday he learned all about East Anglia's bitter rivalry during his brief Carrow Road stint.

Ipswich Town's former Norwich loan defender David Wright revealed yesterday he learned all about East Anglia's bitter rivalry during his brief Carrow Road stint.

Wright made five appearances back in November 2005 while on loan from Premiership outfit Wigan. The 28-year-old has played in a clutch of Lancashire derbies but admits his impending cross border raid will be special.

"Let's face it, the places are 40 miles apart but I have never known an intensity like it," he said. "I probably underestimated the importance of the game to supporters of both clubs, but I soon realised what the game is all about and how much it means.

"We know how important it is to put in a good performance for the supporters and to get the three points. Our pressure is to get into the top six. Their pressure is to stay clear of the bottom three. I know which pressure I would rather have."


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Wright believes it is only a matter of time before the 11th-placed Tractor Boys climb the table.

"We have not reached top gear yet," he said. "Apart from a couple of matches, we have not reached the level we are striving for. And we have not been consistent enough. Overall we have done well, but there is a lot more to come. It is encouraging that we are in a decent league position without having got ourselves into top gear."

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Meanwhile, Wright's team mate Jon Stead aims to show Norwich what they missed out on. The Canaries were among a number of clubs reportedly interested in taking Stead from Sheffield United before Ipswich pounced. Stead admits he is delighted with his Portman Road move after hitting five goals in 16 appearances.

"Norwich was among those clubs interested and when the opportunity came up to go on loan they were in the hat," he said. "But Ipswich showed the most interest and were the keenest to get something done. That was enough for me, it was an easy decision and one I do not regret one bit."

Stead is keen to write himself into Ipswich folklore with another goal at Carrow Road. The 25-year-old experienced two of the country's biggest derbies playing for Sunderland against Newcastle United and the Steel City derby between Sheffield's finest. Now Stead anticipates another big footballing occasion.

"Sunderland and Newcastle was a massive game, but in the season I was there we lost both the games against Newcastle. Even so they were unbelievable affairs," he said. "The Sheffield derby was pretty good too, but again I didn't have much joy. I have heard from the lads here that this one is up there and I'm really looking forward to it. Derby matches are always special occasions for everyone and for everyone involved it is a massive day. They would rather win that game than any other all season and have those bragging rights."

Although he has not had much luck in derby days, Stead appreciates what big games they are and is fully aware of what it means to Town fans.

He said: "You are going into their territory so it is bound to be intense but players enjoy that pressure and that occasion. There are some players who go through a career without playing in a big derby."

Based near Bury St Edmunds, Stead is already immersing himself in Suffolk life and understands the cross-border divide after growing up a Terriers supporter.

"I was a Huddersfield fan as a youngster so it was the biggest thing to beat Leeds United and it made your year," he said. "Players know what is at stake and if ever there is day to get stuck in, derby day is it."

Stead is hoping to retain starting place upfront against City after failing to get on the scoresheet against old club United. Jon Walters (sciatica nerve) and David Norris (thigh) remain injury doubts for Jim Magilton's side.

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