City new-boy John Kennedy today declared himself fully fit for tomorrw's Carrow Road opener against Blackpool – memories of those four, long years of injury heart-ache slowly starting to fade.
The scars of that horror tackle on his Scottish international debut – and the three major operations that have since followed – are still plainly visible; eched deep into the side of the 24-year-old's left knee.
But after a decent pre-season first with Celtic, then with Motherwell and now with the Canaries – capped off by his excellent Championship debut away at Coventry City, Kennedy can – hopefully – at look forward to some brighter times.
“That's what it's all about – playing games,” said the on-loan Celtic centre-half, delighted to back out in the midst of the competitive action – where the tackles fly and the studs show.
“It's good playing in the friendlies and stuff, but you ean your money when it matters,” said Kennedy, with a phrase that is likely to be music to Roeder's ears after a difficult week at the office.
Two games, no goals, no points and no immediate sign of the big target-man striker that the Canaries continue to cry out for, all produces an anxious air ahead of tomorrow's opening home game against Blackpool.
“I think we can take some positives – we played pretty well – so we just have to look to Saturday now.”
Whereupon you expect both Kennedy and his defensive partner Dejan Stefanovic to make their return. Both missed the Carling Cup trip to the MK Dons; both you strongly suspect will have shrugged off the various aches and strains that ruled their involvement at the stadium:mk.
Certainly Kennedy appears fit and up for a game.
“I'm fine,” he said, explaining his Tuesday night absence. “It was just a bit of tiredness and I think the manager just thought it would be better to leave me for that game so that I was fit for Blackpool. So I'm fine – fit and well. And looking forward to the game.”
There is, of course, the natural fear that after so long on the sidelines, Kennedy might struggle to complete two 90s in a week. That said, he is still only 24; this is not a 38-year-old Dion Dublin who has to be nursed through the week; gently unwrapped only on Saturdays.
“I actually felt OK come Tuesday,” said Kennedy. “But it was the manager's decision and you have to respect that. But, as I say, I'm feeling fresh so I'm looking forward to Blackpool.”
At which point everyone wants to see a goal. In fact, not just wants but needs to see a goal against a Seasiders side that, with the best will in the world, are likely to provide one of Norwich's lesser opponents this season. They are not, in short, Birmingham City who are next up at Carrow Road; this is the game in which you get some wind in your sails.
And to do that Norwich need a goal.
“We're playing well enough, but as people can see we're not finishing our chances – so we have to put that right and, hopefully, we can do that tomorrow.
“But we're not thinking too much about it; as I say, I think we're just taking each game as it comes and in the games we're actually playing pretty well. We're just lacking that finishing touch and, hopefully, that can fall into place tomorrow.”
Tomorrow's game will be the chance for Canary playmaker Wes Hoolahan to bump into a few old pals; Kennedy is fully expecting his fellow new-boy to pull out a trick or two for his old employers.
“He'll be a big player for us,” said Kennedy. “He's already showed the ability that he's got. But they'll know all about him and I'm sure they'll be looking forward to playing against him because he's such a good player.
“But as I say, we just need to focus as a team and get the result we need.”
There was, of course, one brief moment when you thought that the name 'J Kennedy' might feature on the Ricoh score-sheet – a acrobatic overhead in the first-half that bounced down and up against a defender deep in the Sky Blues' box. It was certainly a decent enough connection.
“It wasn't too bad,” he laughed.
“I've never tried it before, but it turned out not too bad. I don't know where that came from – it'll not be coming out again, don't worry!” added Kennedy, well aware that the finger of blame should not be pointed wholly in one direction.
“It's not just the strikers – I think the whole team has to look at their goals; midfielders you expect them to chip in with a few through the season – and it's the same with the centre-backs going up for set-pieces.
“It's a team game; we'll take it all together and, hopefully, we can score a goal tomorrow.”