Warning: Bell's on a mission
Michael Bailey David Bell has targeted his former club's weaknesses and aims to take full advantage at Carrow Road on Saturday - but insists it is nothing personal.The 25-year-old returns to Norwich with Coventry City on Saturday, just over a month since leaving the club, for a match the Canaries must win to spark their Championship survival bid into life.
David Bell has targeted his former club's weaknesses and aims to take full advantage at Carrow Road on Saturday - but insists it is nothing personal.
The 25-year-old returns to Norwich with Coventry City on Saturday, just over a month since leaving the club, for a match the Canaries must win to spark their Championship survival bid into life.
But after being signed by former boss Glenn Roeder from Luton in the summer, Bell knows the inside track on his former team-mates - and believes he knows why a season that promised so much has gone so wrong at Norwich.
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“It's a difficult question, but if you're playing so well and battering the other team, and not putting the points on the board, there is something wrong,” said Bell. “It's difficult to say, but they concede too many goals. Wolves have conceded a lot of goals but score more than they concede, and Norwich haven't been doing that.
“We were going away from home sometimes and going two goals down, and then we were expected to score three to win. You can't be conceding goals and not scoring bucket loads and expect to be flying up the table. That's been the problem.”
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Bell made just 13 starts for Norwich in his six months at the club but still has more assists in a yellow shirt than any of his former team-mates with seven, two ahead of Sammy Clingan and three more than skipper Mark Fotheringham.
However, Bell admitted he is not sure what kind of reception he will get from the Canaries faithful, who welcomed his summer arrival for a fee believed to be around �400,000.
“I don't know to be honest; I'd like to think the fans understand my reasons for leaving. It wasn't a case that I joined, didn't like the club and decided to move to Coventry,” confessed Bell, whose family is from Northampton.
“I just felt when Coventry came in, there was a chance to move back home and it was an opportunity I couldn't turn my back on.
“Hopefully the fans understand that and also that while I was there, I had a little bit of trouble with injuries I was basically playing through.
“I'm definitely glad to have had my time there. Norwich are a really big club and a well run club, and the fans are terrific. You get 25,000 every week, whether you're playing Blackpool or Manchester United, and the fans have been brilliant.
“So I'd like to think there is no hostility there when I play, because I did enjoy my time there and hopefully they understand my reasons for leaving.
“And at the same time, the club wouldn't have sold me if it didn't make financial sense for the club. They had a player for six months, playing with an injury and sold him for more money than they paid for him - otherwise the club wouldn't have been happy to sell me.
“I'm looking forward to it. I've got no regrets signing for Norwich. It's a good club, a big club and I really hope they stay up and get out of the situation they are in. I'm looking forward to seeing some of the friends I made during my time there.”
Bell remains confident Norwich will turn their season around from a currently perilous position, despite having not won since the winger's last outing at Carrow Road - as a last minute substitute in City's 4-0 win over Barnsley, Bryan Gunn's first game in charge.
“I honestly believe they will be all right; I know the quality they have got,” said Bell. “But they've been saying that all season and there comes a point when you need to get the points on the board.
“I believe they have got enough in the dressing room to survive and I really hope they do, but no club is too big to go down. It doesn't work like that.
“You could say Leeds are a bigger club and they get bigger attendances, but they have been struggling to get back up. But I really hope things work out with Gunny. In the little time I knew him, he was brilliant and always honest with me. I hope it works out for him and the club.”
Coventry are one of the division's form sides, losing just twice in their last 14 matches in all competitions and knocking out Premier League Blackburn Rovers in the FA Cup fifth round replay at the Ricoh Arena last night.
The Sky Blues now have a home tie against Chelsea to look forward to in less than a fortnight's time, although Bell remains cuptied after starting Norwich's third round replay defeat to Charlton.
“I was disappointed to miss the last one at Ewood Park, because it's a chance to test yourself against Premier League opposition, and we've got Chelsea at home next, so I'll be disappointed to miss out on that as well,” said Bell. “I'm really enjoying it. Obviously my debut against Derby wasn't great because we lost, but since then we've taken seven points against top six sides. I'm delighted to be here and I wanted to be a part of what Coventry are trying to achieve.
“To be honest, my ankle needs surgery and I've needed it since the start of the season, but it's a case of just managing it. I've played pretty much every game so far and I'll be getting it done in the close season.
“Touch wood, it's been okay, so I'm just aiming to play as many games between now and the end of the season.”