Paddy Davitt, EDP Sports Writer
Thursday, October 25, 2012
Norwich City boss Chris Hughton reiterated on Thursday afternoon the focus is on claiming three points against Aston Villa in the Premier League this weekend – not points-scoring ahead of a first reunion with former manager Paul Lambert.
Hughton insisted at Colney the Lambert factor had not dominated his build-up as the Canaries seek to emulate last weekend’s vital opening league win of the season over Arsenal.
“Certainly from our point of view, it doesn’t make any difference,” he said. “We are up against a good Villa team who are playing at home and will have a great support behind them. Whether we are fighting for three points at Aston Villa or anywhere else, once that whistle goes we know only one thing matters. Of course it is different in some ways because of the previous manager. It is a very, very small detail. The bigger detail is it is three points to play for and from Paul’s point of view I am sure it will be exactly the same.
“I think in some ways they have been similar to us. We have seen a fair few of their games and there hasn’t been anything wrong with their performances. We certainly watched them at Fulham and they would have been disappointed coming away thinking they had lost the game, because for large periods they were in it. I think their form has been good, the energy in the side has been good and of course they are a team who have made changes over a period of time and it is adapting to that.”
Hughton admitted City’s preparations ahead of the trip to Villa Park had been buoyed by their victory over the Gunners.
“Generally the morale has been very good anyway. Of course there is always a better feeling after a win, and a well-deserved win for us,” he said. “Very quickly it is about getting down to doing the business again, learning all we can from the last game and remembering again perhaps what we had not done so well in the previous games. Arsenal was a stiff test and this will be no different. You can only ask them to do the same things, which is to work hard and be as disciplined as possible to cause a threat at the opposite end. So much of what happens on a match day itself can be fortune and luck and getting the rub of the green but what comes before that is you have to have a work ethic that gives you a chance. If you have the quality on top of that then of course you have a better opportunity to get a result. We need to keep the basics rights and we did in the last game.”
Hughton confirmed he had no fresh injury concerns following that Arsenal success. Keeper Mark Bunn is targeting a possible injury return next week against Tottenham in the Capital One Cup. Steven Whittaker could also feature against Spurs after coming through a 90-minute development outing earlier this week at Reading. Hughton will decide over this weekend whether the Scottish international steps up his recovery from an ankle injury in another scheduled U21 development game on Monday or against Andre Villas-Boas’ squad. Hughton also revealed City’s Spurs loanee Harry Kane is well on course to be back into the fold before Christmas after foot surgery.