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BOSS LOOKING FORWARD TO OPENER

16 August 2013

City manager excited by return to action

CITY boss Chris Hughton says everyone at the Club is excited about the return to Barclays Premier League action when the Canaries entertain Everton at Carrow Road tomorrow (3pm).

Asked if after his long career as a player, coach and manager he still gets butterflies as the first game of the season approaches, he replied: “Absolutely you do. This is what it’s all about, what all the hard work in the summer has been leading up to and working towards.

“Whether you are a player or a coach, you get excited about the return to competitive football. If you can’t get excited about that, then you’re in the wrong business!”

Tomorrow’s game is the first in the Everton hotseat for their new manager Roberto Martinez, who left relegated Wigan Athletic to replace long-standing Toffees boss David Moyes when he joined Manchester United.

City are undefeated in their four tightly-contested most recent Premier League outings against the Merseyside club, with two draws in 2011-12 followed by a 1-1 draw at Goodison and a 2-1 win at Carrow Road last season.

Hughton confirmed new signing Gary Hooper is a doubt as he continues his recovery from a knock suffered in the 2-0 friendly win over Panathinaikos.

“Gary Hooper is touch and go and we plan to give him right up until the last minute,” said the City boss.

Meanwhile other absentees will include midfielder Leroy Fer, serving a one-game suspension, and Sebastien Bassong and Anthony Pilkington who are both on the comeback trail from injury.

Hughton said: “Seb is back in training and took part in the midweek development game. He came through that fine but he will just miss out, as will Anthony Pilkington who will start training again on Monday.”

Meanwhile Hughton said he was pleased to see City’s international players return unscathed for their midweek outings for their countries.

Martin Olsson came through 45 minutes of Sweden’s friendly against Norway and Wes Hoolahan played 69 minutes of the Republic of Irelands 0-0 draw in Wales.

Meanwhile Robert Snodgrass played 66 minutes of Scotland’s entertaining 3-2 defeat against England at Wembley, while defenders Russell Martin and Steven Whittaker each played the full 90.

“I was delighted to see three Norwich players feature in such a high-profile friendly. That is a great experience for them and hopefully one they can take on. For me the fact they came through without any knocks was also important,” said Hughton.


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