Norwich City’s rapid rise surprises Ward

Elliott Ward knew what he was signing up for in the summer – but admitted even he has been surprised by Norwich City’s rapid progress in the Championship this season.

It has been a complete change in circumstances over the last 12 months for the former West Ham United defender, who this time last year found himself out of favour at Coventry City and taking in a loan spell at struggling Preston – his second stint away from the Ricoh last term.

He was a free agent in the summer, newly-promoted City came calling fresh from their League One title success and the 26-year-old had already put pen to paper on a two-year deal before the end of May. Ward has gone on to make 33 appearances this campaign, with his first goal in the 2-1 comeback win over Millwall at Carrow Road in February.

But what is more, Ward is a big part of an upwardly mobile Canaries machine – although he admits, the rise has been quicker than even he expected.

“It is chalk and cheese from last season for me,” said Ward.

“This season I have enjoyed it so much. I knew what I was joining... well, I thought I knew what I was joining. It has even taken me by surprise the way the lads are so together, the club is pulling in one direction with the winning momentum they already had, and we have obviously taken it on to another level.

“So it has been a good season so far, but we have still got a lot to do, to be honest.”

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Paul Lambert’s City side have carried on seamlessly from where they left the third tier last season.

And although Ward – like much of the current squad – did not make his switch to Carrow Road until after the Canaries’ completed their march to the League One title, he can still feel the momentum from it helping the current side’s quest for back-to-back promotions.

“To be honest, the way the lads talk it feels like I was there last season,” said Ward. “It’s quite strange the way it started bad that season and the manager came in and changed it all around.

“He expects stuff from us and we either do it or we are in trouble. The hunger to play even higher is there, and it has shown.”