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Nelson aiming for starting place on Saturday

PUBLISHED: 08:00 07 August 2009 | UPDATED: 11:22 06 July 2010

Norwich's teak tough defender Michael Nelson is fit and raring to go for Saturday's League One derby kick off against Colchester at Carrow Road. The 27-year-old is vying for a starting place in Bryan Gunn's new look line up after being knocked unconscious in the recent pre-season game at Crystal Palace.

Norwich's teak tough defender Michael Nelson is fit and raring to go for Saturday's League One derby kick off against Colchester at Carrow Road.

The 27-year-old is vying for a starting place in Bryan Gunn's new look line up after being knocked unconscious in the recent pre-season game at Crystal Palace.

Nelson was stretchered off in a protective neck brace at Selhurst Park after a sickening aerial collision with Jose Fonte before sitting out last weekend's Wigan win in the Canaries pre-season finale.

“Yeah, I'm brilliant, I feel fine,” he said. “Obviously I had a knock and sat out training for a couple of days but I've had no ill effects. Ian Butterworth decided to put on a couple of nice heading sessions this week so we got through that and everything is well now.

“The way the lads have been playing and the results we have picked we've wanted to get the season underway for the last week to ten days. I think we'd have been quite happy to go last week but that extra period and another good result gives us that little extra bit of confidence.”

Nelson is well attuned to the rough and tumble of League One after five campaigns in English football's third tier.

“In all the seasons I have played in that division I haven't seen too many get out by playing great football,” he said. “You have to get that good mix and know when the time is right to get it down and play and when you just have to deal with it and defend and get the ball away. We'll need everything through the course of a season. When you go to Carlisle on a wet winter's day and maybe you're 1-0 up with ten minutes to go I doubt you'd be too worried about getting the ball down and playing.

“I don't think the fans will be particularly bothered as long as we get the result. Obviously the manager will set us up in a way that we want to get the ball down and play but I still feel the fans would prefer a scrappy 1-0 win to a well played 4-3 defeat.”

Nelson refuses to look beyond the usual suspects for City's main promotion rivals.

“It's hard to say but the obvious ones are the teams who have just come down,” he said. “Plus the ones who have been tipped for the last two or three seasons - the likes of Leeds who haven't really seen the job through. We have to make sure we don't fall into that category. It's alright being one of the favourites but that is no good just getting to the play offs or just missing out on the play offs at the end of the season. We need to go out and get the results that get us up there and keep us there.”

Nelson is well aware City's Carrow Road powerbase holds the key to a concerted promotion push with club officials predicting a bumper 25,000 crowd for Colchester's opening day visit.

“You want to be playing in front of those sorts of numbers week in, week out,” he said. “There are not too many teams in League One who can go and get that. It's a massive credit to the club and the fans after a relegation season to turn out in those numbers on the first day. It's up to the lads who go out there on Saturday to get a result that makes them keep coming through the turnstiles.”

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