HOME matches will hold the key to Norwich City picking up enough points to guarantee Premier League football next season… according to manager Chris Hughton.
The Canaries welcome Swansea City to Carrow Road on Saturday afternoon after consecutive top flight away games at Sunderland and Wigan Athletic.
Hughton is hoping his side’s positive record on home turf, with just three defeats all season will see them over the line, will be extended this weekend.
“In the last seven games, we have four of them at home,” said Hughton at his pre-match press conference at Colney Training Centre on Thursday afternoon.
“For clubs of the ilk of ourselves, the home form is going to be even more important. We have to use that advantage. We have a tremendous support that wants to get behind us.
“We know that we need to make sure that we give them something to shout about. Our home form this season has been good and we need that to continue.
“If we were to win on Saturday, then it would possibly put a whole new slant on everything and on everyone’s perspectives. It would give everyone a lift.”
Swans manager Michael Laudrup has not only steered them to their first major trophy but also to what appears to be a comfortable position in the Premier League, and Hughton believes any hype surrounding the South Wales club is fully justified.
“They’re as good as anybody in the league in the way that they play. They’re a well-drilled team. I’ve seen their last three games, and in all three of them they could have got something,” he added.
“The things that don’t change with Swansea are the way they want to play and the philosophy of their game.
“They do create chances – they have good offensive options, and they will always be a threat whether they put in a good performance or not such a good performance.”
City’s boss indicated that winger Anthony Pilkington is likely to miss out on a place in the squad, despite being nearly recovered from a hamstring injury, but confirmed Alexander Tettey and Mark Bunn will be available for selection.
“We’re ok at the moment. Pilkington is very, very close but he’ll probably still miss out on Saturday, though. Alex Tettey will certainly be in the squad for the weekend, and Mark Bunn will come into contention,” said Hughton.
On John Ruddy
’s return to fitness, he added: “John’s making very good progress in his training, and we’re looking at him being involved in the Development game on Monday, which is good for us.”