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No divided loyalties for Norwich City’s Elliott Bennett ahead of Wolves return

Elliott Bennett plans to prove Wolves right by ensuring Norwich City spoil their big Championship opening day party.

The 25-year-old got his first break with the Molineux men after progressing through their academy ranks, before embarking on a path which led him to the Canaries and the Premier League. Bennett knows the debt he owes his first club but there will be no divided loyalties back on old turf.

“They gave me the platform to realise my dream of becoming a professional footballer,” said the Telford-bred midfielder. “I didn’t start a league game during my time there but I did play in two League Cup ties and I will always hold them fondly because it’s where I first started off. The timing just wasn’t right at that stage of my career so you have to move on, but there were no hard feelings. The best thing they did for my career was to get me out on loan and then sell me to Brighton. I learned my trade at Bury and Crewe and if it wasn’t for that I wouldn’t be here now. Its the same with Brighton. I will look forward to going back there. They took a chance on me and I had two fantastic years there that ended in a promotion and getting a chance for me to play in the Premier League.

“I think I need about 20 tickets for my family this weekend and I have to keep asking to borrow tickets from the rest of the lads. Wolves hold a massive place in my heart. I owe a lot to the academy.”

Plenty of Bennett’s former youth team peers have make the transition to Kenny Jackett’s ranks.

“I wish them well but not on Sunday,” he said. “There is still quite a few left from my days. Kevin Foley, Dave Edwards and a couple of the younger lads who got a chance when they dropped into League One, David Davis and Danny Batth. I try not to get involved in speaking to them during the build-up, but we’ll have a good catch-up after the game.

“I played there in the Premier League season when we drew 2-2 and I enjoyed it. It’s always nice to go back. It’s a massive football club with really passionate supporters and they will try to make it as hostile as possible for us. We’re under no illusions and they have the momentum from last season but I know Norwich fans will travel in big numbers as well.”

The teenage Bennett was a talented English Schools’ athlete before focusing on football and City’s midfielder drew an interesting parallel to quantify Norwich’s Championship task.

“It’s like a 400m hurdles race. We have 46 hurdles to get over and the end goal is to win the league. That is what we have to do and what we have prepared to do in pre-season,” he said. “I’ve never played in the Championship because I went straight from League One to the Premier League, but we will have to match the work ethic of these sides and then you hope our quality shines through on the day.

“You have eight more games, a lot more midweek games, which we are not used to, but the manager has assembled a squad he feels can cope with it. I look around this group and see faces that are hungry and who have that desire to get back to the Premier League.”

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