Norris wanted to stay at Ipswich

DAVID Norris returns to Portman Road tonight – and it turns out he never really wanted to leave.

Portsmouth’s all-action midfielder will be doing everything he can to end his former club’s five-game unbeaten run this evening (7.45pm ko).

Having turned down a new deal at Town back in June, captain Norris walked away on a Bosman free transfer and left the club with a �2m transfer loss.

Blues boss Paul Jewell believes he should get a warm reception though, insisting the ‘model professional’ left reluctantly at the end of his three-and-a-half season spell.

Speaking of the player they call ‘Chuck’ after his film star namesake, he said: “I remember him coming to my office and saying ‘I don’t really want to leave Ipswich’. He was settled in the area and wanted to stay.

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“He’d been offered a three-year contract by Portsmouth though, an unbelievable deal, which we wouldn’t match. He just told me ‘I can’t really turn it down’.

“Chuck was up front and honest with me, I was up front and honest with him, so there was no problem. I prefer people to look each other in the eye and say it how it is rather than doing it a different way.

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“This is a job, he got a great offer and I think everyone understood that he had to take it. That’s life.”

He added: “I didn’t think any supporter would ever accuse him of not trying his best here. Every game, every training session he was a complete model professional.

“Right to the last game he played for us he always gave everything. He’s a terrific player, a terrific pro and he’s one of those I am sure will get a good reception upon his return. Our crowd clap everybody so they’ll definitely welcome Chuck back I’m sure.”

Portsmouth under currently under the caretaker charge of Guy Whittingham and Stuart Gray after manager Steve Cotterill departed for Championship rivals Nottingham Forest last Friday.

Having watched the video of the south coast club’s 2-0 home win against Barnsley at the weekend, Jewell said: “It doesn’t affect the way we prepare for it.

“If you look at history it does show that results tend to improve soon after a manager leaves, but the graph then tends to flatten out after players have stopped trying to impress. I think that, at the end of the day, the team finishes up where it would have finished up anyway, regardless of a managerial change.

“They’ve got good players, you look at their squad on paper and it’s a strong squad with a lot of experienced players that have played in the Premier League. We know it will be a tough game.”

– For full match preview, comment and analysis, see today’s EADT and Evening Star. Follow @Stuart_Watson and @davegoods on Twitter for live match updates.

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