City boss Glenn Roeder has urged David Bell to follow David Bentley's lead and deliver goal-den opportunities on a plate for the Canaries.
Bell's efforts at Pride Park on Tuesday night were, said Roeder, one of the few plus points to emerge from another miserable away-day.
And with the Canary manager clearly thinking long and hard about handing the ex-Luton Town winger his first start following his recent recovery from that summer injury, so Roeder is hoping that a pin-point delivery or two could make all the difference at Turf Moor tomorrow.
“I think he's chomping at the bit now,” said Roeder this morning, quizzed as to whether his big-money summer signing was hungry to get off the bench and really get going.
“And it's got the potential for him to start tomorrow because he did very well when he came on. You try to look for some plusses out of a disappointing performance and I think David Bell would be the one thing out of the game that would be very positive.”
Whether that start comes at the expense of Lee Croft on the right or Wes Hoolahan on the left remains to be seen; Bell looks confident enough on either flank.
With Antoine Sibierski the major doubt, the sight of Darel Russell moving up-front could ease the selection process – Matty Pattison adding some bite in central midfield; Bell stepping into that left-wing role.
What is clear is that, in Roeder's eyes, having access to the 24-year-old's deliveries from set-plays from the start of a contest as opposed to 30 minutes here and 45 minutes there that could make a real difference to Norwich's poor away form.
“Every time he's come on, he's always shown something – that he's a classy footballer,” said Roeder, after waiting patiently for Bell to recover from that ankle injury sustained in pre-season training with the Hatters.
“And we could do with his deliveries,” he said. “He's an excellent deliverer of the ball – whether in open play or from set-plays. And we could do with some better deliveries from set-plays.”
Thus far this season, those duties have been assigned to either Mark Fotheringham or Sammy Clingan – with mixed results, was the manager's verdict. The fact that Fotheringham is now out of the starting eleven has forced Roeder into a re-think; Bell's return to full match fitness could yet prove very timely.
“We haven't really found anyone who consistently puts in a delivery from a corner or a wide free-kick; we've been too hit and miss.
“The lads who have been doing it, there's been some good, some poor. We need the standard to rise.”
Cue an inspiration from above – ex-City loan star Bentley who produced all his party pieces in mid-week in the midst of that extraordinary North London derby.
“I know I'm talking at levels higher, but I look at David Bentley the other night and even in the last few seconds of that game when he's delivering a wide free-kick it is a nightmare ball for defenders to try and defend against. And, of course, he's gone on to be a full England international and rightly so.
“But so many goals can be scored from set-plays and the delivery is such a high percentage of those goals going in.”
As events on Tuesday night proved as Bell landed the ball squarely on John Kennedy's forehead for what, in the event, proved no more than a consolation strike at Pride Park.
“The one good delivery we did get in and John Kennedy has scored a very good goal from,” added the City chief. “And that was a smashing delivery – it had pace on it. And if you get to the ball first and get a touch on it, there's every chance that it's going to go in.”
The player himself feels ready to start; the fitness is now there in the tank.
“I feel ready,” said Bell. “But that's down to the gaffer and the management staff to decide whether I play or not. I've just got my fingers crossed that I will.
“I've been out for quite a while, but I've now got back to grips with playing again and hopefully I can now push for a starting place – and, hopefully, when I get that I can keep it.”
Another pin-point ball onto Kennedy's head would help. “That's what midfield players are in the team for – to set goals up and try and get a few themselves. And if I do get a chance to play tomorrow then I'll be looking to do more of the same.”
One thing is certain, however. That if the Canaries are to ever free themselves from that bottom six and make the sum of their many parts add up to something more substantial, they have to improve their away form; that has to change.
“We need to pick up our away form; our home form has been pretty good this year,” said Bell. “But you need to pick up some wins away from home and we're going to look to put that right tomorrow.”