City fans received an unexpected bonus this afternoon with news that the scourge of derbies past – Town striker Danny Haynes – apparently sustained a back injury in training this morning and is now a doubt for Sunday.
That 'news' remains very much of the 'apparently' variety. All manner of derby kidology can go on ahead of such derby meetings. And given that this particular cross-border clash has more than most riding on it – Championship survival to the north and managerial survival to the south – so the addition of D Haynes to the list of walking wounded will require more than one pinch of salt at this late hour.
But, there is no doubt that the 21-year-old enjoys something of a voodoo sign over Ipswich's neighbours.
Be it at youth, reserve or first team level, the Town Academy product has scored goals for fun against Norwich down the years. He made Ryan Bertrand's life a complete misery in last season's 2-1 defeat at Portman Road – scoring yet another goal in the process as he ripped the on-loan Chelsea starlet apart that day.
But as Bertrand prepares to return south of the border, so he for one will be desperately hoping that Town boss Jim Magilton isn't playing games; that Haynes really is sat alongside the likes of Gareth McAuley, Jon Walters, David Wright and Kevin Lisbie – all of whom have been clutching sick notes from matron.
Today and Magilton was heading into the game with obvious wariness. He can spot a team fighting for their Championship lives – just as one or two others might spot a manager fighting for his own managerial life after an underwhelming season at Portman Road.
The knives have been sharpening for a while; they rattled again after the 3-1 home defeat by Doncaster Rovers in Town's last home outing. Derby defeat would merely heap yet further pressure on reclusive club owner Marcus Evans to wield the axe.
“It's a massive occasion for everyone connected with the two clubs and particularly for the supporters,” said Magilton, with a crowd of 28,000 expected for the Sunday lunch-time kick-off.
“And Norwich come here fighting for their lives which makes them a very dangerous opponent,” Magilton told the club's official website – his relations with the local media camp still being somewhat strained.
He did, however, find time to salute the achievements of his opposite number in the short time that 'The Gunner' has been in charge of Norwich's survival plans.
“Bryan Gunn has done a great job since taking over there – and he's a top bloke,” said Magilton, suggesting that any derby animosity won't last much beyond the final whistle.
“He's Norwich through and through having been at the club as a player and been on their staff for many years. He has watched managers come and go at Carrow Road and Bryan felt that it was the right opportunity for him to take on the job and I wish him well… after Sunday.”
Whether Magilton will be extending a similarly warm welcome to returning striker Alan Lee is, however, another matter.
Lee himself clearly feels that there is some unfinished business to be done in Suffolk after finding himself out of Magilton's plans last summer and on his way to Crystal Palace – a move that proved to no-one's benefit as Eagles' boss Neil Warnock decided to cut his losses and put him out on loan.
To Norwich. All of which will have been noted by Magilton. That and the fact that the 30-year-old is hitting a rich vein of combative form – just in time for the biggest derby of his own, managerial life.
“It was a footballing decision letting Alan go to Palace,” said the Town chief today, clearly not about to let things get personal.
“We bought him for around ?100,000 and sold him for ?600,000 so it has to be seen as good business,” he added.
Whether that will be the view of the North Stand should Lee come back to haunt Town on Sunday is another matter. One of their downfalls this season – admitted as much by the manager – has been their inability to forge a consistent front two pairing. This Sunday and Magilton can go any number of ways now that top-scorer Jon Stead is fit again; none of which, however, have really 'gelled'.
He might even be tempted to involve 16-year-old striker Connor Wickham in his first-ever derby duel after he became the youngest-ever player to play for the club this month.
Whether Lee could have been one half of a 'big man, small man' double act is something for managers north and south of the border to ponder with Warnock clearly of a mood to get shot this summer.
“I'm not sure what reaction Alan will get from our supporters,” admitted Magilton, as he spoke to www.itfc.co.uk.
“But he's a big lad and I'm sure he can handle it.
“He deserves a good response really because he did a great job for this football club and I enjoyed working with him,” said Magilton, being diplomacy itself in the run-up to their reunion.
You would still suspect that Magilton – given the choice – would much rather have seen Lee holed up in Palace reserves for the rest of the season as opposed to striding out in a yellow Canary shirt on Sunday.
“Palace were happy to let him go out on loan to Norwich and I know he loves this part of the world so it's been a good move for him,” said Magilton, as Lee lifted his first bottle of Man of the Match bubbly for his efforts against Watford last Monday.
“I'm sure that he will do what he can to help keep Norwich in the Championship. We are certainly aware of what he can do,” added the Town chief.