Lee aims to win over City support
New Norwich City signing Alan Lee is delighted to be coming "home" to East Anglia - even if he is on the opposite side of the big divide between the region's two most deadly rivals.
New Norwich City signing Alan Lee is delighted to be coming “home” to East Anglia - even if he is on the opposite side of the big divide between the region's two most deadly rivals.
The 30-year-old former Ipswich Town striker completed his loan move from Crystal Palace to the Canaries yesterday, a switch that pleases him on both the professional and the domestic front.
Lee is available for the rest of the season and could make his City debut in tomorrow's Championship match against Birmingham at St Andrew's.
He said: “I'm delighted, to be honest. It hasn't been working out particularly well at Crystal Palace so I've got the opportunity to come to a big club that plays under full capacity and live at home as well, which is another advantage. I am really looking forward to it. I want to start playing now. It always tends to be a good pitch here and a full house every week and that sort of atmosphere really lifts me as a player.”
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Lee knows he has walked straight into a relegation fight in City's final seven games of the season - but said he was ready for that.
“I could have gone to a couple of other clubs in the Championship, good clubs, but I felt I could come here and make a difference,” he said.
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“Rather than playing the time out in mid-table I can go somewhere and really contribute to a season.”
He admitted Norwich's position - one place above the bottom three - was “not ideal” but added: “There have been a couple of good results lately, some clean sheets and I can take the positives from that.”
Lee's Ipswich connection is bound to be a talking point with the East Anglian derby at Portman Road just over four weeks away, but he made light of the link.
He said: “I knew I was going to have to face a lot of questions, but I'm sure if I score the goals and work hard the Norwich fans won't mind.”
“I know Norwich and Ipswich have got to play and I will be looking forward to it.”
He said he would not shrink from celebrating if he scored against Town.
“I'll celebrate any goal I score in football, for any team so long as it counts to helping us win the game. That's what I am paid to do, that's what I love doing, so of course,” he said.
“I scored 34 goals in 90-odd starts for Ipswich and I will be happy if I have that sort of ratio here.
“I live on the Suffolk-Essex border, so my girlfriend was delighted I came home last night and she cooked for me and couldn't believe that I was lying on the sofa as usual, so that was nice and it will be nice to go back there after training because I love living in East Anglia.
Lee was first targeted by former City boss Nigel Worthington nearly six years ago when he was at Rotherham, but instead he joined Cardiff.
After finally making it to Norwich, he said: “It happened very quickly. Once the manager said to me it was his intention to put me out on loan, you hear whispers and you're not really sure what's happening.”
City boss Bryan Gunn said: “I've been speaking to Neil Warnock and Alan's name came up the other day, which surprised me, so it was one to act on fairly quickly.
“I have no qualms about him being an ex-Ipswich player. The fact that he chose to come here over another Championship club in a better position shows me that he wants to come here and make a difference, so that will do for me.”