Ward playing catch-up for City

David Cuffley Defender Elliott Ward is determined to make up for lost time as the Championship kick-off looms large for Norwich City.With the first league fixture - at home to Watford on Friday, August 6 - now less than a fortnight away, the 25-year-old centre-back is hoping to cram as much match practice as possible into the week ahead to bring him up to speed before the real business begins.

David Cuffley

Defender Elliott Ward is determined to make up for lost time as the Championship kick-off looms large for Norwich City.

With the first league fixture - at home to Watford on Friday, August 6 - now less than a fortnight away, the 25-year-old centre-back is hoping to cram as much match practice as possible into the week ahead to bring him up to speed before the real business begins.

Ward, who joined the club on a free transfer from Coventry in May, finally had his first outing in Canary colours in Thursday night's 1-0 friendly defeat at Dagenham & Redbridge.


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He was sidelined for the first three friendlies by an Achilles problem, though he still trained with City during their week at a private complex near Bonn.

“It was just a bit tender - more like precautionary to stay off it. I still worked hard in Germany with the physios and with Grant Holt,” he said.

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Ward played the first half against the Daggers at Victoria Road before making way for Russell Martin in a defensive reshuffle - and admitted he could have done better.

“It's the fourth pre-season game and it's the first one I've been involved in,” he said. “It's just nice to get the half under my belt and I hope I'll get to catch up with the minutes and get on the same level as the lads.

“This is my first 45. It's nice to get it out of the way. I hope that's the cobwebs off and when I play the next one I will perform a little bit better.

“Fitness wise it was all right, Achilles it was wise all right but the actual game? For me, I could have done a few things better. That's me being harsh on myself and I've got to realise it's my first 45 as well.”

Manager Paul Lambert had planned to pair Ward and Zak Whitbread in the centre of defence at Dagenham but Whitbread complained of a tight calf in the warm-up and was rested as a precaution, with Owain Tudur Jones stepping into the back four.

“You never know what's going to happen. In the warm-up he wasn't right, so we changed the team and went out and could have done a little bit better in the first half,” said Ward, who was hoping for another outing against Premier League visitors Newcastle United at Carrow Road today.

“I'm playing catch-up a bit and I hope I get a good run-out on Saturday. And there are still two more games before the first Championship game so I have to train well and get those minutes up.

“I've settled in well with a great set of lads. What they did together last season has stayed with them. It's a good group, with good morale. The lads are very decent and they've welcomed me well.”

City's lack of goals at the other end of the pitch - after blank nights at Stevenage and Dagenham - did not unduly concern the squad, said Ward.

“It's nice when you score goals but at the minute it is about the fitness and getting the minutes in for everyone,” he said.

“We've all settled well and I hope things will start picking up. By the time the first game comes we'll be ready.”

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