Ward's looking to make fresh start
David Cuffley Defender Elliott Ward officially became a Norwich City player today as he reported for pre-season training with his new team-mates. But the 25-year-old centre-back already has his sights on the Canaries' npower Championship kick-off - after the fixture list handed him a swift reunion with a former team-mate.
Defender Elliott Ward officially became a Norwich City player today as he reported for pre-season training with his new team-mates.
But the 25-year-old centre-back already has his sights on the Canaries' npower Championship kick-off - after the fixture list handed him a swift reunion with a former team-mate.
Watford boss Malky Mackay not only becomes reacquainted with Carrow Road when his side provide City's opposition for the first game of the season, five weeks tomorrow, but with former West Ham team-mate Ward.
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The two big defenders were part of the Hammers' squad that won promotion to the Premiership through the play-offs in 2005, though they seldom played together as Ward and Anton Ferdinand effectively replaced centre-half Mackay and Christian Dailly in the closing weeks of the season.
Ward, who has joined City on a free transfer from Coventry City, nevertheless looks forward to the televised game against ex-Canary favourite Mackay's Hornets, the first Football League fixture of 2010-11.
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“He's an old team-mate and I got on very well with him at West Ham,” said Ward.
“He's done a good job at Watford so I'm sure he will be looking forward to coming back here as well. He joined us a few weeks into the season and did very well, played a few games and helped us get promoted.
“It was a good season for both of us but we've both moved on now.
“He's done well at Watford and now I'm here at Norwich, trying to start afresh and see how it goes.
“It's a good game for us to start with and it will definitely be tough.”
A Friday night start means City could be the first Championship team to put points on the board, but getting a head start has little long-term advantage, said Ward.
“There will be 45 other games for that,” he said. “The only thing about it as a night game is that it could be very humid - that's the only thing I've thought about. But it's a good one to start on Sky with, without a doubt.
“Norwich had a great season and people want to see how they start off this season and I'm sure there will be a lot more interest in us.”
Coventry paid West Ham �1m for Ward's services in 2006 but after three seasons as a regular in the defence he fell out of favour with former boss Chris Coleman last season and was loaned out to Doncaster, then Preston.
Ward, whose brother Darren is a defender with Millwall, was linked with the Canaries twice previously but this time the move was for real, his two-year contract beginning today.
“I'm looking forward to starting,” he said. “I've met a few of the lads and it's nice for everyone to get pre-season started.”
City's first pre-season friendly is a trip to Ridgeons League club Dereham on Saturday, July 10.