Monday, December 31, 2012
A growing injury list and a one-match ban for midfielder Bradley Johnson have given Norwich City boss Chris Hughton a few selection headaches for tomorrow’s Premier League trip to West Ham.
Johnson picked up his fifth booking of the season against Manchester City, while striker Steve Morison hobbled off before half-time with a thigh problem to join absent skipper Grant Holt on the sidelines.
Holt, who missed his second game in three as the Canaries lost 4-3, may have a slightly better chance of facing the Hammers than Morison, but Hughton may have to do without either.
“Steve just felt his thigh. How bad that will be we’ll just wait and see the next couple of days but it’s fresh at the moment. I would think he’ll be doubtful,” said the City boss after Saturday’s game.
“Grant will be very much touch and go. It’s just a little recurrence of his hamstring injury. He trained on Friday and still felt it so certainly it wasn’t one where he could have played today.
“It is a very slight injury but if you’re playing through it at the wrong time you can make it worse.
“So we might be missing both of them, or possibly have one of them back.”
With goalkeeper John Ruddy still on crutches after a thigh operation, full-back Steven Whittaker out with a hip injury and likely to miss “the next few games” and midfielder Andrew Surman out for the past two months with a knee problem, Johnson’s ban further reduces Hughton’s options.
“It will be a big loss but if you look at Jonny Howson’s contribution when he came on, it shows what a quality player he is,” said Hughton. “I think Jon would look at it that he’s a bit unfortunate not to have got the number of games he’s used to playing, but the form of Alex Tettey and Bradley Johnson has kept Jon out of the side. But it’s a great opportunity for Jon.”
On-loan striker Harry Kane, who replaced Morison, and Simeon Jackson provide the options up front if Holt and Morison are ruled out. It was a tough game for Harry to come into and a fairly open game against two quality centre-halves, so I think he did OK,” said Hughton. “I had a decision to make to put him or Simeon on. Simeon’s probably up to speed a little bit more but when you look at what Manchester City have on the set plays, they’re a big team.
“Harry’s come from being out for 11 weeks to doing some really good rehab, to playing 60 to 65 minutes in a development game, to then being on the bench at West Brom. He’s done some good training but there’s no doubt he will be better for today.”