December 11 2013 Latest news:
Paddy Davitt, Norwich City Writer
Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Chris Hughton admits this week’s round of international friendlies is an unwanted distraction ahead of the Premier League kick-off against Everton.
City have seven players on duty for their countries across Europe, with four embroiled in the long-awaited return of the domestic rivalry between England and Scotland.
Russell Martin, Steven Whittaker and Robert Snodgrass are pitched against John Ruddy either side of the ‘Auld Enemy’ divide, but there is only one outcome club boss Hughton wants to see at Wembley.
“In all honesty all I’m concerned about is those lads come back in one piece,” he said. “We have four players involved in a big game at Wembley and in terms of how many we lose in total it is disappointing. I suppose some clubs will lose even more. It is something as a manager I can’t do anything about, but I am sure if you speak to any Premier League manager they would say they can’t see the sense in playing these games three days before your first league game of the season. It’ll affect most clubs in the division and we’ll just have to get on with it. We’ll all be fighting for our players not to play the full 90 minutes so close to the season.
“You only hope the international managers are mindful of that fact. It always looks unfair perhaps when your player plays for a full 90 minutes and someone in the opposition plays for less.”
Hughton knows the men he wants to lead City into the opening Premier League fixture against the Toffees at Carrow Road if his international contingent return unscathed.
“More or less I know my line-up for the first game,” he said. “You still want to give yourself the benefit of this full week. You generally don’t make decisions a week or two in advance but, yes, I have a fair idea now of the team I want to put out in that game and you just hope that the international players come back in one piece and we are able to go into that game as planned.
“We have got what I wanted from this period, but, of course, the correct gauge is next week and the weeks after. You never really know. You can be absolutely delighted with what you have taken out of the pre-season games, particularly the last one (against Panathinaikos), and come the first league game of the season you don’t perform well. We have done everything right. You can only hope you come through it without picking up the major injuries. Probably Anthony (Pilkington) is the only one disappointment in the last fortnight that he has had to miss a fair chunk of training.”
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