The East Anglian derby is arguably the biggest rivalry in the English Football League Championship at the moment, and the biggest game in the division this weekend.

Championship leaders Ipswich Town travel to bitter rivals Norwich City on Saturday lunchtime for a clash that carries an element of mutually assured destruction.

Sky Bet Championship 2023/24
# Team Pl W D L F A GD Pts
1 Ipswich Town 40 26 9 5 84 51 33 87
2 Leeds United 40 26 8 6 75 31 44 86
3 Leicester City 39 27 4 8 77 35 42 85
4 Southampton 38 22 8 8 76 51 25 74
5 West Bromwich Albion 40 19 11 10 62 39 23 68
6 Norwich City 40 19 7 14 72 58 14 64

Defeat for either side, even a draw, could have far-reaching repercussions for the two rivals’ respective causes.

There is a lot more at stake than just derby bragging rights.

Promotion ambitions

Despite a 23-point gap between them, both Ipswich Town and Norwich City are very much in the promotion mix. They could yet go on and realise their ambitions at the end of the season, albeit via different avenues.

Ipswich, with a paper-thin lead at the top of the table, are an integral part of the automatic promotion narrative, with a place in the play-offs all but guaranteed should they miss out on a top-two finish.

For sixth-placed Norwich City automatic promotion is a bridge too far, but a place in the play-offs remains a realistic target.

The Canaries occupy the final play-off spot with a four-point buffer between themselves and Coventry in 7th place.

The feeling is mutual

Either side would get great satisfaction from throwing a spanner in their bitter rivals’ works.

Norwich City would love to derail Ipswich Town’s automatic promotion challenge. Equally, Ipswich will be rubbing their hands with glee at the prospect of putting a huge dent in the Canaries’ play-off push.

The result is set to impact the automatic promotion race and the squabble for the play-offs alike. Rivals will be keeping a keen eye on this one, with a view to capitalising on slip-ups.

Friends of Norwich City

With just two points separating the top three, the positional see-sawing at the top is set to continue.

Leeds United, Leicester City, and automatic promotion outsiders Southampton, stand to benefit from a Norwich City victory.

There are, therefore, no prizes for guessing who Ipswich’s automatic promotion rivals will be rooting for. They will all be “Friends of Norwich City.”

Friends of Ipswich Town

Norwich City (6th) and Hull City (10th) are separated by just six points.

The teams below and closest to Norwich, especially Coventry City, Preston, Middlesbrough and Hull City, will be desperate for Ipswich to do them a favour and peg back the Canaries. A Norwich City slip-up will present rivals with an opportunity to close the gap in the race for the play-off spots.

It goes to reason, therefore, that Norwich City’s play-off rivals will be “Friends of Ipswich Town” on Saturday.

High stakes

There is a lot riding on the East Anglian derby, not just for Ipswich Town and Norwich City, but also their automatic promotion and play-off rivals.

The high stakes portend a riveting encounter at Carrow Road.

It promises to be the centrepiece of another intriguing round of fixtures as the season inches closer to its conclusion.


I'm Barrie Jarrett, born in Leeds, lived over a decade in South Africa, CEO And Co Founder of Planet Sport Limited and Planet Bet Limited.

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