VIDEO: Ward will hit the ground running in Championship

PUBLISHED: 10:44 27 May 2010 | UPDATED: 17:21 10 September 2010

Chris Lakey

Paul Lambert believes he has acquired a ready-made Championship centre-half after completing the signing of Elliott Ward on a free transfer yesterday. Ward has top-flight experience with his first club, West Ham, and has spent the last four years playing exclusively in the Championship.

Paul Lambert believes he has acquired a ready-made Championship centre-half after completing the signing of Elliott Ward on a free transfer yesterday.

Ward has top-flight experience with his first club, West Ham, and has spent the last four years playing exclusively in the Championship.

The 25-year-old has agreed a two-year deal, having turned down “four or five” other Championship clubs, including Sheffield United and Doncaster Rovers.

That alone will be a feather in Lambert's cap, but the City boss is happy to have picked up a player who knows what the Championship fight is all about.

“His pedigree is up there - at 25 years old he is still relatively young, so he will learn and hopefully get into my way of thinking,” said Lambert.

“He knows the game, he has been up there a right few years and played at a higher level so it's not as if I'm going to teach somebody new tricks - he knows what it's about. He's played up there so it's nothing new to him - he knows exactly what it's like.

“This won't faze him - I think he will revel in it, I think he will do terrific for us. It is not as if we are bringing somebody new to it - he knows exactly what's required.

“It is a terrific age for us to get him in - he has seen it and done it. He has played here before, he knows the fan base, he knows the expectancy level of it.”

Ward was out of contract at Coventry, who paid £1m to West Ham for his services four years ago, but he fell out of favour at the Ricoh Arena and had loan spells with Doncaster and Preston during his final campaign with the Sky Blues.

“We needed somebody to come in,” said Lambert, who released centre-half Gary Doherty earlier this month.

“I knew a few weeks before the end of the season he was hopefully going to become available. He has a terrific pedigree and he did great at Coventry, did great at Doncaster the time he was there and we needed somebody with a bit of experience to go and defend and I am sure he will do great.

“Zak (Whitbread) will be fully fit by the time pre-season comes, Michael Nelson has been terrific for me, and Jens (Berthel Askou) is here. I know exactly what I am going to get and he will come in and give those lads a hand and I will do everything I can to make this club successful.”

Elliott's departure from Coventry was settled before new boss Aidy Boothroyd took over last week.

“It's been decided for a while,” he said. “It was good to be there, but sometimes you have to move on and I am happy with my decision.”

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