Norwich City defender ‘gutted’ for Elliott Ward
Zak Whitbread offered words of comfort for fellow defender Elliott Ward last night after Norwich City suffered a double injury setback.
Manager Paul Lambert confirmed after the 0-0 friendly draw at Southend United that both centre-back Ward and striker James Vaughan will miss the start of the season with knee injuries.
Both injuries were sustained during the pre-season tour of Germany.
Said Lambert: 'They are going to be out. They are going to miss the start of it and that is a bit of a blow for us.
'Wardy was huge for us last season but that is what happens. He has hurt his knee and we just have to go with it. We're not talking a few months – hopefully he'll be back soon.
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'He just did it in Germany. He didn't feel anything really at the time. His knee was a little bit sore.
'The same with James. It is a blow but that is why you have the squad and why we went out and brought players in during the summer because otherwise you can be left short. We have to get them back pretty quickly.'
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Whitbread, who has had his share of injury woes, said he understood Ward's situation.
'The lads are gutted for him. It's disappointing. I feel for him. I have been in the same position,' he said.
'He will work really hard, he will get his head down and I hope he'll be back before you know it. We all wish him a speedy recovery. It could have been a lot worse and a lot longer so there's a bit of mixed emotion. He's obviously gutted and we are for him.
'I've been in that position and it's horrible. The worst thing about being a footballer is getting those injuries but they're part of the game and he's the type of lad who will work hard and he'll be back as quickly as he can.'
Loan recruit Kyle Naughton, from Tottenham, and Adam Drury made their first pre-season appearances.
'I thought Kyle did really, really fine,' said Lambert. 'To come in after just one day is not easy but I thought he did well. I was happy with him. His first day with us was only on Wednesday after coming back from South Africa. And it was good for Adam to get 45 minutes under his belt.'
Lambert was not unduly concerned by the scoreline.
He said: 'It was another workout. The nature of this at the minute is to keep everybody fit. As soon as the games start to boil down next week you'll see the team gel together.
'Of course when you play the games I always think if you can't win, then don't lose it.
'You have to remember these are a week ahead of us and it is a tough place to come.'