Jewell backs Chopra to shine against former club

PAUL Jewell has backed Michael Chopra to silence any boo-boys as the striker prepares to return to former club Cardiff City.

Chopra scored 65 goals in 162 appearances for Cardiff before his cut-price �1 million move to Ipswich Town in the summer.

Now on the eve of his return to the Cardiff City Stadium, Jewell expects his experienced frontman to get some ‘stick’ from the fans who once adored him.

Jewell said: “I don’t think Chops will worry about what he is going to get from the supporters. He has played for Newcastle and Sunderland so I don’t think going back to Cardiff will bother him too much.

“He did well for Cardiff, they did well for him. He might get a bit of stick but I don’t envisage any problems.”

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Chopra clearly has an affinity for his former club, always speaking highly of a side he once shed tears for following the heartbreaking play-off final defeat against Blackpool.

But Jewell warned: “The important thing is that it is not Chopra against Cardiff. You have to be careful not to make too much of the game. Sometimes you see players coming back to their old clubs trying so hard to impress that it doesn’t work out for them. We just want Chops to play his normal game.”

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And after Chopra’s double in Town’s last match against Brighton broke his scoring drought and took his tally to four goals this season, Jewell is just delighted to have secured a striker for a snip.

He said: “He’s a one-off character, he loves scoring goals and he is really looking forward to going on a (goalscoring) run.

“I don’t know why they (Cardiff) were so keen to get rid of Chopra. I think it was one of those where he was one of the highest wage-earners at the time and they were going through a transitional time.

“Sometimes people have a shelf life at a certain club and it was time for a change for Cardiff and time for a change with Michael. But when I heard he was available for a million pound, I thought it was a terrific deal for us.”

Meanwhile, Cardiff captain Mark Hudson believes Chopra will get a good reception from the home fans – unlike former Swansea forward Jason Scotland.

Hudson added: “I was here two years with him and I do know him well and we know he’s a threat so we do know we’ll have to keep our eye out for him. We know what he’s about and we know he’s going to be a handful. We know his strengths, we know his weaknesses. Hopefully we can work on the weaknesses.

“We know he’s a goalscorer. He’s proven that over his career. He’s sharp, he’s lively around the box. If you keep him out of the box, you limit his chances.

“He’s one of those characters – he’ll want to score, but we’ve got to stop him doing that.”

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