Horror crash victim Way returns to Carrow Road

Michael BaileyAfter a horrific 13 months, former Norwich City youth product Darren Way cannot wait for his return to Carrow Road with Yeovil Town on Saturday. The 30-year-old was left fighting for his life following a terrible car crash in December 2008 as a Yeovil player.Michael Bailey

After a horrific 13 months, former Norwich City youth product Darren Way cannot wait for his return to Carrow Road with Yeovil Town on Saturday.

The 30-year-old was left fighting for his life following a terrible car crash in December 2008 as a Yeovil player.

The injuries left him in a wheelchair for months and, in February, Way confirmed his playing days were at an end.

But following his remarkable recovery, Way was offered by former team-mate and Glovers' boss Terry Skiverton the chance to join his coaching team.


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And he will travel with Town for their Carrow Road date against the League One leaders on Saturday - an occasion promising to be emotional on a number of levels for the former midfielder, who spent six years at the Canaries and made several appearances on the substitutes' bench for the first team.

'I'm not going to lie, it's been a really difficult 13 months,' said Way. 'You realise it's been a massive achievement for me to get where I am now from where I was.

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'It's not often as a professional athlete you find yourself in an electric wheelchair and not being able to walk. That was a real difficult time for me and my family, but as they always say there is light at the end of the tunnel and I'm trying to come to terms with not playing again, and this is the next best thing.'

Way joined City as an associate schoolboy in 1994 and played six times for England Under-16 before leaving to join Yeovil - helping them into the Football League with promotion from the Conference in 2003.

A move to Swansea did not work out before Way returned to Huish Park 18 months ago - but since moving on from Norfolk, Saturday will be his first return to Carrow Road.

It will be a daunting one at that, with City having lost just twice in 21 league matches since October, but having shared a six-goal thriller at Huish Park back in mid-December, Way does not think an upset should ever be ruled out.

'I think all the gaffer wants to do is for the boys to go up there, enjoy it and continue to do what they've been doing,' said Way.

'I was at Norwich and I know what the fans are like. For me, from my time there and just having some involvement with the first team, it's a great club and I think if our boys go up there with that enjoyment and to have no fear of playing at Carrow Road, you never know what can happen.

'Really that is all you can ask for from a group of players, for them to show that desire, determination and will to win, and whatever happens on the day happens. They've got great players and there is no hiding that fact, and we've just got to come up against it on Saturday and try to cope with it the best way we can - and we didn't do a bad job of it at home. But it is just great to go there and play there, for any player or manager. I am really, really looking forward to it.

'If I had half a chance I'd move my family back there but sometimes work dictates that.

'I've got a lot of friends in Norwich and I'll be really relishing coming back, especially from where I've come from within 13 months - to come back to Carrow Road as part of the coaching staff here, I wouldn't have even dreamed of that.'

Yeovil have a modest three wins from their last six fixtures, easing them into the relative comfort of midtable.

Way added: 'I would say every game is difficult in League One at the moment, especially for Yeovil Town. With the attendances we get, I'm sure anyone on the outside would realise what a great job the manager has done and I think he's working on less of a budget than last year.

'To go away to Walsall, where the pitch was absolutely horrendous, and play the way we did was fantastic. I think that's the big difference this season - some of the pitches, like at Colchester, with the weather conditions are probably the poorest I've seen.'

The pitch will be the least of Yeovil's problems on Saturday, but whatever happens Way believes the Canaries are set to complete their season's aim and make a second tier return at the first attempt.

'I think they are very strong and from what I've seen with Paul Lambert, there is probably no better manager in the league at the moment to take Norwich City back into the Championship,' he said.

'For Norwich to be where they are - for me as a Norwich fan - is disappointing, but they are where they are at the moment and they've got do to everything they can to get back up.

'The support they get, it is quite incredible really considering where they are and the support they get week in, week out.

'Along with that they've got superb facilities, it's a great football club and they are destined to go on to bigger and better things again, there are no two ways about that.'

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