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HUGHTON ON MAN UNITED

16 November 2012

Manager looks ahead to Saturday's clash

NORWICH City Manager Chris Hughton has called for his players to be on top of their game on Saturday when Manchester United are the visitors to Carrow Road in the Barclays Premier League.

The Canaries are on a five-match unbeaten run but tests don’t come much tougher than the 19-time title winners, who themselves have won five consecutive league games.

Ryan Giggs’ stoppage time winner snatched all three points for the Red Devils in the corresponding fixture last season, however with a hugely competitive squad at his disposal, Hughton is hoping his side can turn in another good performance against Sir Alex Ferguson’s team.

He told Canaries Player: “You can only prepare the best way you can. Mentally it’s not a problem, because there isn’t a player at this Club that wouldn’t want to be on that team sheet on Saturday. 

“These are games you look forward to as a Club, as a manager, and as a player. 

“You have to be on top of your game because they can score at will, but as we’ve seen last week and in lots of other games, they can concede, and you’ve got to make sure that you’re very good defensively and also have a threat up front.”

The Manager also revealed that he has no fresh injury concerns ahead of the match, adding: “Russell Martin, who missed the last couple of games is still not available, but apart from that we’re okay. 

“The three lads that were away on international duty – John Ruddy, Steven Whittaker, and Wes Hoolahan are all fine.

“We thought Russ was going to be okay for the last game but it’s one that has dragged on a little bit. We’re expecting him to train on Monday and Tuesday and continue to progress.”

The recent upturn in form has brought the Canaries many of the points their performances deserved much earlier in the season, when they perhaps could have turned draws against Queens Park Rangers, West Ham, and Tottenham Hotspur into wins.

However the Manager is happy to finally be picking up victories and is fully focused on continuing to maintain the five-point gap between City and 18th placed Reading.

He added: “It gives us a little bit of comfort that we’re not in the bottom three, but although we’re picking up points and playing well, we have some very tough games coming up where unless you’re on top of your game it can be difficult. 

“We’re delighted that we’ve kept away from that bottom three and it’s our responsibility to continue to do that.

“We were certainly playing well enough to have picked up points early on in the season, but in recent weeks the points have been coming with those performances, and we’re in decent form at the moment.

“It’s very difficult to get points off these top teams like Manchester United. 

“You know that you’ve either got to have that little bit of fortune or you’ve got to play really well. 

“Certainly if I look at our game on Saturday, I think we’ll need everything that we’ve done well in the last few weeks to get something from the game, but it’s possible, and we have a group of players who are very much looking forward to this opportunity.”

To watch the full press conference on Canaries Player, click here.

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