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12 September 2013

Hughton speaks of happy camp ahead of Spurs encounter

NORWICH City manager Chris Hughton says his squad are in good shape following the international break as they prepare to face his former club Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday.

The Canaries had eight first-team players feature prominently for their countries over the last fortnight, but says all have returned without problems and that spirit is high in the squad.

“Confidence is good at the moment. It’s always a nice feeling when you go into that international break on the back of a win,” said Hughton at his pre-match press conference on Thursday afternoon.

“It effects your week because some of the preparation you’d like to be getting on with you’re not able to do if there’s key players missing, but it’s very much a question of making sure that the players that are here are looked after well.”

One of those has been Gary Hooper, and City’s boss confirmed the summer signing from Celtic has trained successfully this week and is in his thoughts ahead of the trip to White Hart Lane.

“He’s fit, which is good news. He’s trained this week, and our decision will be now how, when or if we use him this weekend.”

Hughton returns to the club where he spent the majority of his playing and coaching career, and admits it’s always an enjoyable occasion when he goes back, even though he’s fully aware of the threat they will pose on the pitch.

“It’s always nice, it’s a special club. It’s always a nice feeling, but the feeling’s always better if you can go there and perform well enough to get a result.

“Last season we put on a very good performance there and were perhaps unlucky to not come away with a win, but we’re up against a club and a team that have vastly strengthened over the summer.

“They have great quality players in the all positions, and of course that makes the task a little bit tougher, but it’s one you have to look forward to, not just for me, but for the players too.”

With the sacking of Giovanni Trapattoni from the Republic of Ireland managerial post earlier this week, Hughton’s name was of those linked with the vacancy but he was quick to reaffirm his commitment to the Canaries.

“It is absolutely just speculation. The things I can say is that I’m manager of Norwich City Football Club, I’m extremely happy here, we spent invested more this summer than the Club has ever done and I’ve had wonderful support from the board here.

“I have a group of supporters that are fanatical and want this team to do well, and I have the same challenges here as the supporters have and the players have. There’s been no approach and I’m incredibly happy here.”

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