Canaries boss previews Newcastle clash
NORWICH City Manager Chris Hughton is pleased to have plenty of competition in the squad ahead of a Barclays Premier League visit of Newcastle United on Saturday.
Last weekend’s win over Peterborough United in the FA Cup marked a return to winning ways for Hughton’s side, who despite eight changes, put in an impressive display and will be keen to continue that at Carrow Road.
However Newcastle, who Hughton managed to the Championship title in the 2009-10 campaign, exited at the hands of Brighton in the cup, and despite being without a host of players through injury, will be desperate to bounce back with a win on Saturday.
Hughton told Canaries Player: “It’s about having competition in the squad and we’ve been fairly consistent in the team over a period of time and that’s because performance levels have been good.
“You want the competition in the squad to ask questions and you want as many players as up to speed as possible, so competition is always welcome.
“On Saturday we’re playing at home and it’s an opportunity for us to get back to winning ways [in the league] irrespective of the form of Newcastle, but of course it’s a game that they’ll want to get back to winning ways in too.”
On the win over Peterborough at London Road, Hughton added: “Apart from the win itself, I was delighted with the performance.
“From start to finish we were very good, and it was good to be able to use the squad.
“We’ve a group of lads that weren’t quite at the match-speed of others, and to go about it in the right way was even more pleasing.
“On the injury front, Grant is going to be close for the Newcastle game. He trained on Thursday morning, and we’ve just got a decision to make on his reaction to the training, but he is close.
“Simeon is certainly in the squad and I thought he played very well at Peterborough and of course scored.
“Jonny Howson is fine, he’s just missed a couple of days of training, but he will train on Friday.”
Hughton’s former club Newcastle are in the middle of a difficult spell which has left them just two points off the drop and without a win away from home in the league.
However for the City boss there is no doubt about the talent of Pardew’s team, and he warned: “We know perhaps it’s not one of the better periods for Newcastle, but we also know what quality they have in the squad.
“They’re capable of winning any game, and they play a style of football that gives them an opportunity to win every game.
“We have to be very guarded because they’ve too many good players for us not to be.
“When a team is not having one of their better runs, there is generally an answer, and I would look at the fact that they’ve had the injuries that they’ve had, and the Europa League run.
“Without the injuries they’d have been able to cope a little better than they have.
“Any club in that position would find it hard to cope with those aspects and you have to be guarded because of the qualities that they’ve got. When they get their big players back, they’ll start climbing up the league.”