Ward hopes for a shot at West Ham
Norwich City’s job of work is done after securing their ticket to the Premier League but defender Elliott Ward is still keeping his eye on one piece of unfinished business.
Ward had a brief taste of top-flight football with his first club, West Ham United, and is keeping his fingers crossed that he will get the chance to take them on next season.
But the Hammers, bottom of the table and four points adrift of 17th-placed Wolves, are favourites for the drop and will almost certainly have to beat Wigan and Sunderland in their final two matches to stand a chance of surviving.
Ward spent five years at Upton Park from trainee to professional before moving to Coventry in 2006.
“I want them to stay up, of course I do. It’s such a massive club so for them to go down would be a great shame for the Premier League, not just West Ham,” he said. “I am hoping they stay up so I can go back to the Boleyn Ground and, I hope, beat them.”
Ward was making only his 15th first-team appearance when he helped the Hammers beat Preston 1-0 in the 2005 play-off final at the Millennium Stadium.
City have avoided the potentially agonising scenario of three additional games, giving the Harrow-born centre-back his second taste of promotion.
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“Once the first few months of the season kicked in there was a great belief and great spirit in the squad and it just got better and better,” said Ward.
“If you look at some teams that lost one game, they maybe lost four or five on the bounce, which is not promotion form. But we’ve not lost two in a row all season.
“The team has shown that since the manager’s been here and if we could do that next season it would be unbelievable, but you never know.
“Most of the lads hadn’t even sampled the Championship until this season and they’ve done brilliantly so it’s just another occasion for us to step up as a group, work hard together and see where it takes us.”
Ward played all but seven of City’s Championship games, playing more than any of his central defensive colleagues, but his partner at the back kept changing through injuries at different times to Michael Nelson, Zak Whitbread and Leon Barnett.
“For me it’s not a problem who’s there next to me and with all the changes we’ve adapted well,” he said. “It’s been brilliant for that to happen so quickly and it settled the team as well.
“The game to actually get us promoted was a clean sheet and that was exactly what we needed.”