Bally is keen to return to Dons

CHRIS LAKEY Canaries youngster Bally Smart could be on his way back to League Two high-flyers MK Dons in the new year.The 18-year-old has spent the past three months with Paul Ince - and revealed yesterday that the former England international wants him back in the new year.

CHRIS LAKEY

Canaries youngster Bally Smart could be on his way back to League Two high-flyers MK Dons in the new year.

The 18-year-old has spent the past three months with Paul Ince - and revealed yesterday that the former England international wants him back in the new year.

"He has said he wants me back on loan to the end of the season when the transfer window opens in January," said Smart, whose return to the fold came in City reserves' ignominious 5-1 home defeat by Ipswich on Monday.

Smart has yet to speak with Glenn Roeder about his situation, but it seems unlikely the Canaries manager will stand in the youngster's way - and the player is keen to give it another go.

"I wouldn't mind going back, as long as I get to play games," he said.

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Roeder will also welcome goalkeeper Joe Lewis back from a loan spell at Morecambe while Ryan Jarvis' time with Kilmarnock will also be up at the turn of the year

The system gives players, especially younger ones, valuable first team experience, and Smart says he would recommend it.

"I think it's been valuable," said the South Africa-born midfielder. "The only club I've been at is Norwich so getting away is good for experience. You get to work with a different group of people and see the different ways in which they approach the game."

Smart's move came about after he impressed Ince during a reserves match for Norwich against MK Dons - and within days added competition to a squad which appears to be heading for promotion.

Ironically, it's that success which meant Smart has yet to start a senior league game: in his spell with MK Dons he made eight appearances as a sub - although he did start an FA Cup tie at Crewe and a Football League Trophy game against Peterborough.

"It was hard to get a start in the league because the team was doing so well, they were on a good run and the manager found it hard to change a winning team," said Smart.

"Paul Ince was good to work with - he's been there and done it all in his career and he has plenty of opinions and advice to pass on.

"Because you are playing towards the first team squad at the end of the week you treat it very seriously and get on with the job. It's good to be in that environment where you have something to look forward to at the end of the week."

Smart got his first taste of league football in the 3-0 defeat at Burnley at the end of last season - after Darren Huckerby had cried off at the 11th hour because of a back problem, which forced then manager Peter Grant to reshuffle his pack. Smart was promoted to the bench and came on in the 87th minute for Dion Dublin - by which time City were already 2-0 down.

"I was only on for a few minutes, but it was good to get a little taste," he said. "I definitely want some more of it now - I just want to get more time on the pitch."

Smart has asked Huckerby for advice in the past and says he won't be afraid to do so again - and although he isn't about to take over his hero's place in the team, it looks like he has him beaten for speed.

While the arguments may linger over who is fastest on the field of play, the records will show that Smart's biggest weapon has made him the fastest player on the books.

"We haven't actually had a proper race," said Smart. "But we had some testing and I came out on top in the 40-metre speed test.

"Hucks has had a good career and it would be good to achieve what he has in the game."