Nelson eyes debut goal to complete his hat-trick

Chris Lakey Michael Nelson is aiming for a personal hat-trick - by marking his league debut as a Norwich City player with a goal. The big central defender has scored on his two league debuts, for Bury and Hartlepool and now wants to do it for City when Colchester come to Carrow Road on August 8.

Chris Lakey

Michael Nelson is aiming for a personal hat-trick - by marking his league debut as a Norwich City player with a goal.

The big central defender has scored on his two league debuts, for Bury and Hartlepool and now wants to do it for City when Colchester come to Carrow Road on August 8.

The 26-year-old has started as he means to go on, with his early header setting the ball rolling on Saturday's 7-2 pre-season friendly win at Dartford.


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"I think that eased the nerves a little bit," said Nelson.

"I've scored on my previous two league debuts and hopefully it was a little bit of an omen and that run will continue.

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"It was nice to get off to an early start and get the goal, just to settle most of the lads down with it being our first game, and then I think we came into the game and went on and won."

Nelson scored five league goals, plus one in a memorable FA Cup third round win over Stoke - last season, but is setting no targets in his debut campaign in the yellow and green of Norwich.

"Hopefully I can get a few more again this season, but I don't really set myself any targets," he said.

"I'm there to defend really and hopefully we will be able to get a lot of clean sheets which is more important to me.

"A goal for me is a bonus because you can't just rely on your centre forwards to get you goals, you need to be getting them from different areas all across the pitch and I think that provides more of a threat to other teams when your goals are spread out.

"It's always nice when someone is banging them in up front, but if the other lads can contribute along the way then it helps."

Nelson and Gary Doherty would appear to be the first-choice central defensive pairing, but with Dejan Stefanovic on the way back from a long-term injury and youngsters David Stephens and Dario Dumic waiting in the wings, manager Bryan Gunn has choices that were rarely available last season.

"There's a good, health competition," said Nelson, getting to know his new team-mates a little more on the current tour in Scotland.

"We have a couple of young lads coming through, big strong boys who look like they are going to develop well, and then you have the old head, if you like, of Doc, who I played alongside on Saturday, so it's a good mix and hopefully it bodes well for the future.

"We all get along - I'm getting on with all the lads to be fair.

"Coming up here on tour helps because there isn't a lot to do so you mix in with the banter from the lads, but even before I came up here the lads have been great.

"It only took a couple of days to get to know everyone, and everyone has been brilliant, not just with me, but with the other news lads Owain (Tudur Jones) and Matty Gill and all the other lads who have come in so it's been good."

The ultimate aim, though, is to ensure City get off to a good start on August 8 - and carry it on through the League One campaign.

"That's when we need to be ready, regardless of what happens on this tour," Nelson said.

"It's always nice to build confidence and get wins, but the most important thing is to get our match fitness and be ready for August 8.

"There's no point in peaking now and winning all your pre-season games and collapsing come the start of the league season.

"You need to be ready, so after the Wigan friendly we need to get a good week's training in us and make sure everyone's fit, well and fired up and ready to go on the first game of the season."

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