On-loan Chelsea youngster Jimmy Smith is hoping to force his way onto centre stage in Norfolk – provided, of course, he is granted an extended tour of duty with Glenn Roeder's reborn Canaries.
After proving one or two points to the new manager in training, the 20-year-old found himself drafted in on the right-hand side of midfield for Saturday's 1-0 win over Sheffield United.
It was his best game yet in a City shirt as he, skipper Mark Fotheringham and the fearless Matty Pattison proved a neat and effective combination in the game's opening period.
And while Smith might have departed early to enable Roeder to try and stretch the Blades with the more natural attacking width offered by Lee Croft, Smith was still firmly mentioned in the manager's despatches afterwards and will be in with a loud shout for a second successive start in front of the Sky Sports cameras at Layer Road this Saturday.
The whole picture will be complicated by Darel Russell's return from a one-match ban, but if nothing else Roeder has instilled a fierce competition for places within his first team squad – particularly given the fact that Smith is still trying to earn the right to start in his more favoured position.
“That's what I prefer really, to be in the middle,” Smith told CanariesWorld this morning.
“I feel that my game is about creating, not always about being wide and trying to take someone on.”
The Chelsea Reserve team skipper, who started to make a name for himself on loan to then-struggling Queen's Park Rangers last season, is however happy to simply make the starting eleven. Right now, simply playing football is his first priority after his right-sided outing against United.
“I've done it for the team and that's what comes first really,” Smith told the official club website.
“I've enjoyed being there, and I'll play anywhere if it means I'm in the starting 11. But my main position is in the centre of midfield and, hopefully, if I can impress the gaffer in training I might get my chance in the centre of midfield one day.”
Smith's hopes of impressing anyone weren't exactly helped by a serious ankle injury sustained on the pre-season trip to Holland.
All of which found him returned to sender for two full months of rehab work. By the time he returned to Norfolk to work on his match sharpness, the regime of ex-City boss Peter Grant was on its last legs.
A six minute run-out in the defeat at Burnley was his first slice of City action; his first start came in the 2-0 defeat at West Bromwich Albion where – in common with the rest of his Canary colleagues – Norwich were pretty much brushed aside by a bigger, stronger Baggies' side.
Two months on and it's a fitter, sharper and more confident Smith that is just beginning to blossom under Roeder's charge.
“I'm glad to have my full fitness back now and I know I've just got to keep working hard in training to impress the gaffer and be playing every week,” said Smith, one of those that is never happier than when he has a ball at his feet.
“It's hard. You don't really enjoy it when you're on the touchline watching the game. It's really frustrating for me as a player because I'm the sort of person who doesn't like to be on the touchline watching.
“I always want to be involved. But it's good to be back now. I've just got to keep working hard and improving my game after training too to impress the gaffer.”
The big question, of course, is what happen on January 1 when Smiht is due to return to West London to provide cover for Chelsea amidst the exodus of players for the 2008 African Cup of Nations.
Roeder has already stated his intention to get in touch with Chelsea's Director of Football, Frank Arnesen, to seek permission for the loan to be extended. Speaking ahead of the United game, Roeder dropped very large hints that Smith would start. “I like him,” was the new manager's simple verdict.
For now, however, and the player himself appears none the wiser. He's just not overly keen on a return to the stiffs.
“I've not heard anything yet,” said Smith. “I'm enjoying my time at Norwich at the moment and I'd love to stay longer.
“But I was told I was meant to be going back because of the African Nations Cup. I'll have to see what happens, but I've enjoyed my time here and if I was to stay I'd be really happy.”
Whether a change of managerial regime at Stamford Bridge will make any difference is hard to tell as Avram Grant settles into life post The Special One.
Certainly if Smith wants to take centre stage in the Premiership, he'll have to force his way beyond both Frank Lampard and Stevie Sidwell first – neither of whom are Africa-bound.
“The plan was for me and a couple of others to be coming back over that period of time but, like I said, we'll just have to wait and see,” he said. “But I'm not bothered where I go, I just want to be playing football.”