City want Elliott Ward
Jonathan Redhead Cash-strapped Norwich City boss Glenn Roeder has sensationally offered winger David Bell to Coventry City in a desperate bid to sign centre-back Elliott Ward.
Cash-strapped Norwich City boss Glenn Roeder has sensationally offered winger David Bell to Coventry City in a desperate bid to sign centre-back Elliott Ward.
The Evening News understands Roeder is willing to trade Bell, in a straight swap for Ward as he is so concerned about the strength of City's creaking defensive resources.
Having spent a large part of the summer trying to secure Bell's services from Luton Town for £400,000 ahead of a host Coca-Cola Championship rivals including Coventry, Roeder eventually signed the 24-year-old while he was carrying an ankle injury which saw his City debut delayed until October.
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But now, despite a string of good performances from the Republic of Ireland B international, Roeder is prepared to cash in on the man he recently described as an “absolute snip” and “a classy footballer”.
The City boss spoke to the Sky Blues in the summer about the availability of Ward, 23, who started his career as a trainee at West Ham while Roeder was boss, but was given short shrift.
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However, with Dejan Stefanovic out for the rest of the season, and John Kennedy heading back to Celtic soon, Roeder is left with Gary Doherty as the club's only established centre-half and is in serious need of reinforcements.
With little cash to play with and knowledge of the Sky Blues' failed pursuit of Bell in the summer, Roeder hopes to tempt Coventry boss Chris Coleman into releasing Ward in an exchange which will come as a huge shock to most City fans.
And it is believed the deal could go through next month as the Sky Blues are prepared to let Ward go - if they can acquire the services of Livingston defender James McPake.
Coleman has already secured a pre-contract deal with the Scottish defender which will see him make the switch to the Ricoh Arena in the summer on a Bosman-style transfer.
But Coleman is desperate to get his man and is now trying to lure Livingston into letting McPake move south in January instead for a nominal fee.
The Sky Blues have defensive problems of their own with skipper Scott Dann out until February with a shoulder problem, but if they can seal an early deal for McPake, Ward will be free to leave the Midlands and head to Norfolk.
Roeder has already revealed how several Championship clubs have already made enquires about signing Bell, but the City boss was not interested in selling the winger, who has played 14 times for City.
Since those enquires things have changed at Carrow Road with Stefanovic's injury and Kennedy's imminent departure forcing Roeder into action and he sees Ward as the man to ease his defensive worries.