Nelson looking to get one over his Norwich City pals
Defender Michael Nelson admits Scunthorpe United will be 'massive underdogs' in Saturday's Championship visit to his former club, promotion-chasing Norwich City.
But the big centre-half is hoping his return to Carrow Road will bring out the big game hunter in the relegation-threatened Iron as they try to plot their escape route from the bottom three.
Scunthorpe, second from bottom of the table, have won just three league matches out of 12 since Nelson joined them from the Canaries for an undisclosed fee on transfer deadline day in January, and have not collected a single point away from home in 2011.
They are five points adrift of fourth-from-bottom Crystal Palace – effectively six points because of their inferior goal difference.
But two of their three victories since Nelson's arrival have come against Nottingham Forest and Swansea, both challenging for promotion. And they claimed away wins earlier in the season at Reading, Watford, Hull and Burnley, all teams nursing top six ambitions.
'Maybe it's just a case of not being under as much pressure against teams like Forest and Swansea because we were massive underdogs, just as we will be at Norwich. The pressure is off the boys because no one really expects you to get a result,' said Nelson.
'We have a pretty mixed run-in – we play one or two teams hanging around just above the relegation zone and others at the top. This is a big game but in the position we are in they are all big games.
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'We had a defeat last week (at Ipswich) and other results went against us, but there are still a lot of points to play for.
'The mood is still upbeat, though obviously we aren't happy with the position we are in.'
Scunthorpe's poor run meant the sack a fortnight ago for the manager who signed Nelson, Ian Baraclough, with Tony Daws appointed caretaker boss. It's all a far cry from the team he left behind, with Paul Lambert's Canaries second in the table and beaten only twice in 24 Championship games.
But Nelson, 31 last week, has had no second thoughts about his move to Glanford Park, where he signed a 2�-year contract.
He said: 'I have no regrets – or I wouldn't have taken the deal. It wasn't forced upon me. It wasn't a case of Norwich trying to get me out. It was left in my hands.
'If the deal wasn't right for me, it would have been a case of coming back to Norwich and trying to fight my way back into the team.
'The way it worked out I'm closer to the North East where my family is based.'
He is, however, relishing his return to Norwich, and saying a proper goodbye to former team-mates, staff and fans.
He said: 'I am looking forward to coming down. The deal was done very late in the day. I had trained that day with the lads and then had to drive over that night and never really had a chance to say goodbye to some of the boys or the people at the ground. It will be nice to be back and see some friendly faces.
'It was all very quick. When some of the boys rang me up the next day, two or three thought I had gone on loan and would be back in a month. It was pretty rushed.
'I've spoken to a couple of the boys and there is a bit of banter about the game and I am sure there will be more.'
Nelson played 45 times for City, scoring five times – including the goal that clinched promotion at Charlton, and one of the goals in the 2-0 home win over Gillingham that secured the League One title.
'I said before it was the best 18 months of my career at Norwich - last season, the way we started and then turned it around and what we achieved, and then to follow it up this season in this sort of position,' he said. 'I hope they carry that on into the final weeks – after Saturday, of course.'
A packed Carrow Road with just a sprinkling of Scunthorpe fans could make it an intimidating afternoon for the visitors.
'Maybe one or two of the lads haven't experienced it, playing in front of the big crowd like that, but we can't really let that get on top of you or let it put you out of your stride. It's part and parcel of football,' said Nelson.
The search for Baraclough's successor has grabbed the headlines during Scunthorpe's two-week break, but Nelson said: 'We're just concentrating on getting our heads down and getting on with the job.
'The fact is there is going to be an appointment. We don't know if there will be a new manager before Saturday and who he will pick – everyone is just hoping to get in the team.'