CHRIS Hughton is hoping his Norwich City team can extend their unbeaten record at Carrow Road in 2014 against Sunderland this Saturday – and is eager for three points.
With just eight matches left of the Premier League campaign, the Canaries’ manager knows the importance of getting positive results on the board as soon as possible.
“It’s a big game for us, particularly with the season coming to the last eight games,” commented Hughton when speaking exclusively to Norwich City TV.
“We need to make sure that we’re picking up the points that we need, and it needs to start with the next game, particularly when it’s a home game.
“The results and performances have been good at home. We have to very much focus on ourselves and give ourselves the best possible chance of having a good end to the season.”
The opportunity to extend the gap between City and the Black Cats is one Hughton certainly isn’t underplaying, either.
“There is no doubt that the fact it’s against a team around us makes it a bigger game,” he added.
“One because we need to the points ourselves, and it’s points you don’t want Sunderland to get too.
“We haven’t conceded that many goals at Carrow Road, but what we’ve got to be able to do is be positive enough to make sure that we can score the goals that we need to win.”
The Club received a huge boost when Elliott Bennett – missing with a knee injury for the last seven months – returned to training at the beginning of the week.
Although this weekend’s game is likely to come too quickly for Bennett, Hughton admitted his delight at having the winger back as part of the group on a full-time basis along with Michael Turner and Jonas Gutierrez.
“It’s really good to see Elliott back. He’s been out a long time, of course, from the first day of the season,” he said.
“It’s been tough for us and it’s been tough for him, but he’s a very good individual. There isn’t anybody who would have worked as hard as he has.
“For Michael this weekend is too soon, and Jonas possibly as well if I look at the period of time he’s been out, but the good thing is that they’re back on the training pitch and there have been no problems.”
On Leroy Fer’s continued recovery from his hamstring injury, Hughton added: “He’s doing well. There are no complications from the injury, but we know it’s still going to be a few weeks. We just hope that he can continue to make the progress that he is making now.”