Chadwick vows to repay the faith

Luke Chadwick says he ready to repay a debt to Norwich as he bids to get his City career started at the third attempt. Chadwick has played just two hours of first team football for Peter Grant since moving to Carrow Road last November.

Luke Chadwick says he ready to repay a debt to Norwich as he bids to get his City career started at the third attempt.

Chadwick has played just two hours of first team football for Peter Grant since moving to Carrow Road last November.

His goalscoring debut at Ipswich ended when he crashed into advertising boards and sustained a cut on his knee which turned out to be more serious than first thought - and ended up being responsible for the thigh injury which cut short his first comeback after just two appearances.

The 26-year-old missed the final six games of the season - and the £200,000 signing from Stoke City is determined not to let another opportunity slip through his fingers.

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“I am sure I owe the club - they have done a lot for me and I have got to pay that back now,” said Chadwick.

“It's disappointing all round. The fans are frustrated, I would have thought, having seen the club pay money for a player and then him being injured the whole time. The manager has signed me and I have not been able to play for him - but probably it's most disappointing for me, because it's my life, I want to be playing football.

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“Hopefully I can do that now and have a good season with Norwich. I just want to play so much it is unbelievable, I am just itching to get out there.

“Even when I came back in to play in a few reserve games at the end of the season it was brilliant just to be playing again and I can't wait for pre-season to get a few friendlies in and start really playing.”

Chadwick's City career got off to a good start, with a 26th-minute goal at Portman Road. But his joy was short-lived: seven minutes from time he collided with a perimeter advertising board and was stretchered off with a badly cut knee as City slumped top a 3-1 defeat.

Minor surgery followed to clean up the wound, but City soon discovered that Chadwick had sustained bruising to his bone, which was effectively as bad as a fracture. Lots of rest was followed by lots of work and when Chadwick returned to the first team squad at home to Birmingham four months later, it seemed the worst was behind him. A second substitute's appearance followed at Colchester, but then Chadwick was struck down by the thigh problem.

“Initially we thought the first injury was just a cut, but it turned out there was a lot of bone bruising, similar to a small fracture, which they didn't find out until later,” he said. “The cut healed up fine, but it was the problems caused from the impact of the board into my bone that was the main problem.

“I did a lot of hard running, a lot of strength work, building my leg back up where it lost a lot of muscle where I cut my knee.

“It just seemed to drag on, then it was heartbreaking to come back and then get injured in training straight away, what with my thigh not being strong enough. But the physios have worked really hard with me, getting the strength back up and I think I am more or less fine to start playing in proper games now.

“I was fit for the last game at Sheffield Wednesday, but it was pointless risking it.”

The agony of months of rehabilitation has now been replaced by the agony of City's summer training programme, which Chadwick believes is tougher than any he has been given in a career which started under Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United.

“This is harder than what we got given at United, definitely,” he said. “They are working us hard so hopefully it will pay dividends next season.

“Here you have to work really hard - you have to work even harder when you're injured than when you're fit here. I haven't experienced that at other clubs. I certainly feel fit now - and if everyone is doing their work we can kick on next season.

“We all have a really hard programme from the sports scientist so I think if everyone does what they have been told there won't be any fitter teams in the league than us next season. We should come back flying.”

Chadwick reckons the bookies have got it wrong by making City outsiders for the Championship title - and says Grant can start with a clean slate.

“Obviously the gaffer wanted to be a success and go up last season, but he inherited a different manager's team and attitude,” said Chadwick. “He has had half a season, which was good for him to get to know everyone, and now he can really start next season. He knows what he wants and he can get his players in to do it.

“When a new manager comes in there is a bit of uncertainty, but I think all the lads are really, really strongly behind the gaffer and I think next season will be the time to judge everyone and judge the squad.”

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