City boss Glenn Roeder described his arrival on the pitch as one of the few positives to emerge from Saturday's 2-1 defeat by a ten-man Derby County side.
For 24-year-old David Bell his 63rd minute appearance marked the end of four, long months of injury frustration as the one-time Luton Town winger finally made his City debut.
“I'm delighted,” said the Canary new-boy, with just that little hint of understatement.
He had, after all, arrived at Carrow Road in the summer with an ankle injury attached – sustained in pre-season training with the Hatters. Saturday was the first time anyone had seen what Norwich's ?600,000 signing could do in a Canary shirt; Glenn Roeder's late decision to throw Bell into the Rams mix costing Wes Hoolahan his place on the bench.
“It's been a bit disappointing since I came,” said Bell. “I haven't played a lot of football in four months now so I was delighted to get a run-out on the pitch. Now I just need to get some games under my belt.
That particular chance will have to wait a full two weeks before the Canaries look to get a little wind in their sails away at Bristol City. With a home clash with Wolves to swiftly follow, the Norfolk side swiftly need to get their house in order if a long, hard winter stuck in the bottom six again is not to unfold.
Saturday was the second time this season that City had managed to lose at home to ten men. And whilst David Marshall's 85th minute horror moment hardly helped, the real Achilles heel remains at the other end of the pitch where Norwich remain chronically shy in front of goal.
For once Sammy Clingan had swept the home side level with his expertly-taken spot-kick, so Norwich had to kill the contest; go on and slam a second home whilst the Rams were reeling on the ropes.
Minus that killer instinct and Paul Jewell's side rode their way out of that brief Canary storm and duly delivered that all-too familiar sucker punch five minutes from the end.
Among the 24,000-odd Carrow Road regulars, there would have been very few who wouldn't have seen that goal coming. Everyone has read the script all-too many times before.
“One-nil down and we get the penalty; we score; we get back to one-all – and their man's been sent off and I thought for ten minutes after that we kicked up a momentum and we started getting right on top,” confirmed Bell. “I thought then that there was only going to be one team to go on and win it…”
Exactly. Derby, if you quizzed any regular with ten minutes to go.
“The lads are very disappointed that they've managed to win 2-1 in the end. But we've got to bounce back from that – and look forward rather than behind us.
“We've just got to learn from the mistakes. We're going into a break now; we've got to re-group; everybody get-together and kick on for the Bristol game.”
By when Roeder will be hoping to have John Kennedy back in action. He could be spotted walking quite easily across Carrow Road afterwards; Dejan Stefanovic will, however, be out for ne more match following his red-card nightmares at St Mary's.
But, in many ways, that's not the problem; scoring goals is. Hopefully, Bell's arrival will offer the Canaries rather more by way of a cutting edge than they have mustered of late. He certainly received a warm enough welcome on his first appearance before things started to go all Pete Tong.
“I appreciate that,” he said. “I think they'll obviously be frustrated because I came and I've been out for a while, but hopefully now I can get my foot in the door and they can see a lot more of me.”
On first impression, he appears to have a crisp and confident first touch; the delivery into the box had a bit of whip and pace. It's just finding someone on the end of it that remains the issue.
“Left or right – either really,” said Bell, having initially replaced Omar Koroma on the left before Arturo Lupoli's arrival for Lee Croft found Bell switching sides to his more accustomed right. “I'm not really fussed to be honest – as long as I'm playing.”
As for the mood in the camp afterwards, disappointment hang heavy in the air. As it will for a few days yet given that Norwich now have a full fortnight to navel gaze.
“Everyone's just disheartened – the staff, the physios, everyone,” Bell admitted. “Like I say, we got back to one-all; they've got ten men and for 10-15 mintes I just felt we got right on top of the game and it looked as if only one team was going to go on and win the game.
“And then they go up the other end and score and it just takes the wind out of your sails a little bit. But we can't sit and dwell on it too much. We've got a fortnight now to put it right at Bristol.”
By when, ideally, Bell's own fitness tank will be that much nearer full. “In terms of training I don't feel that I need any extra training s t speak.
“I just need some game-time, really. Some minutes on the pitch. It's going to take me a while to get match-fit because obviously I haven't played for four or five months, so I'm hoping to get as many games under my belt as quickly as possible.”