Ray Crawford: It’s a special match for me

Ipswich Town v Colchester United – Papa John’s Trophy – Portman Road – Tuesday (7:45pm) – Preview

It’s always a special occasion for Ray Crawford when Ipswich Town and Colchester United go head-to-head.

Crawford made 320 appearances during two spells with Town, scoring 204 goals, and added a further 24 to his career tally during a season with the U’s, including a famous brace as Leeds United were sent packing in a historic FA Cup tie at Layer Road back in February 1971.

Of course, Tuesday evening’s Papa John’s Trophy tie might not provide the same glamour of a First Division title success or a legendary cup shock, but Crawford insisted that the game has its own importance with local pride at stake.

“It’s a derby – It has to be taken seriously by the managers and players – Both sets of supporters will demand it,” Crawford told Yellow Sport.

“It’s a big night out for Colchester. They will have a big support at Portman Road, hoping to put one over Paul Cook’s men.

“I think a few Ipswich supporters have seen Colchester as something of a ‘second team’ over the years. But with only one division between them and the rivalry cranked up, they will want to put the Essex upstarts in their place. This is not a game to lose, even if it is only a Football League Trophy tie.”

Crawford admitted he wasn’t overly impressed with Colchester during their FA Cup triumph at Sudbury: “Something isn’t quite right,” he added.

“I know it was 4-0, but we seemed a little lacklustre. I still think fighting relegation could be an issue unless we can play a little more expansively and at a quicker tempo.

“Colchester seem set up not to lose, as opposed to going all-out to win. If they lose a goal, they seem lost in clawing it back. Against an Ipswich team, perhaps looking to prove a point, that could be a big problem. After all, you want to show a bit of spirit, not get swamped.”

Crawford added: “The two sides had a right go at each other in pre-season. It was a proper ding-dong and the fans loved it.

“I’ve got to be honest, both clubs are very close to my heart but I think Ipswich have a bit too much for the U’s.

“But those Colchester players must give their supporters something to be proud of. Their football has been largely disappointing this season. But Colchester won the last time they played Ipswich in this competition. This is an opportunity to raise the bar, show them that they have something about them and perhaps for someone to write themselves into derby folklore.”

Ray Crawford’s: Ipswich Town 2-1 Colchester United
Jeevesie’s prediction: Ipswich Town 3-0 Colchester United

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Brian Jeeves

Email: [email protected]