Ward looks to put one over boyhood club Watford
David Cuffley Defender Elliott Ward has a special incentive to make it a winning debut for Norwich City tonight - the chance to put one over his boyhood club. The 25-year-old centre-half is hoping to make his first competitive appearance for the Canaries in this evening's televised Championship curtain-raiser against Watford at Carrow Road (7.
Defender Elliott Ward has a special incentive to make it a winning debut for Norwich City tonight - the chance to put one over his boyhood club.
The 25-year-old centre-half is hoping to make his first competitive appearance for the Canaries in this evening's televised Championship curtain-raiser against Watford at Carrow Road (7.45pm).
It's an appropriate fixture for Ward, who signed on a free transfer from Coventry City in May. He was one of four brothers to train as a youngster with the Hornets, with whom brother Darren spent the first six years of his career before the first of his two spells with his current club, Millwall.
“All four of us were schoolboys at Watford at some stage so there's a connection there and Darren played there, so it's always nice to play against them - but I hope they'll be going home losers this time,” said Ward.
“They were my local team and with Darren being there, I used to go there, so I watched a lot of games.
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“The manager at the time was Graham Taylor with Kenny Jackett as his assistant, then Gianluca Vialli was there. They were in the Premiership for a time when I watched them.”
Ward looks favourite to partner Michael Nelson in the centre of defence, and although an Achilles injury left him slightly behind his new team-mates in pre-season training, he believes he is ready for Championship action.
“It's been a good six weeks, training hard and ready for this first game,” he said.
“I feel fine. I think the lads are looking well, they look fresh and I think everyone's ready for this one.
“I spent a few days with the fitness coach before I joined in and there have been a lot of games, so it's been good to get this week's training in because I hadn't had a consistent run of training.
“It's been good to be involved in games and I think I'm more or less there.
“From the first game at Dereham Town the lads looked good and I think we have gelled well on and off the pitch and everyone knows what we're about.
“Against Everton, we played some good football against a top six Premier League team.
“That was a step up for us and now we need to raise our game every game. It's a long season so we need to start well.”
Coming into a title-winning squad has enabled some of the confidence to rub off on Ward and his fellow new arrivals - as many as six of whom could play tonight.
“It is good to see the lads still buzzing from last year and taking it into games. We go into games with no fear and the manager instils that in us,” he said.
Nevertheless, Ward warned that the young Watford side managed by Malky Mackay, Ward's former West Ham team-mate, would be anything but pushovers.
He said: “You will see throughout the season - there is never an easy three points. You look at fixtures and think teams will win games and they end up losing probably because they think there are three points on the table.
“When there are kids involved, they are enthusiastic, they want to prove a point, they want to play football and be in the team, so we are not going to take them lightly.”