Thursday, December 6, 2012
Norwich City boss Chris Hughton knows he has a few frustrated players on his hands but would rather have that than an easier life.
With a settled formation and matchday squad underpinning the Canaries’ nine-match unbeaten run since October, first team regulars such as David Fox and Andrew Surman have found little opportunity to get into their groove this season.
And while Hughton understands that would make things tough for any footballer, Norwich’s current form also makes it hard for anyone to argue with the status quo.
“I know we may look at some games and think we need to go a certain way or a certain player might fit the bill for a certain game, but generally if things are going okay and you are picking up results then it’s easier to focus your mind on the team for the next game,” said the City boss.
“Yes it is hard to keep them happy but that’s how you want it. You don’t want players happy to not be playing. It is of course frustrating when you are not playing but also, footballers see the game and know the game, and the fact we haven’t made too many changes of late is a consequence of the form and the results.
“If players not in the team are seeing the club getting good results then they understand that, but it doesn’t stop the frustration.
“You want players that want to be playing and you don’t want players that are making your life easy because they are out of the team.”
Managing his current City squad is an ongoing process for Hughton, who will be busy preparing for the Canaries’ next challenge – a tricky trip to a Swansea side currently flying high in seventh.
But the search for January recruits is also continuous. Hughton knows the budget he has to play with when the midseason transfer window opens in the new year and is already assessing his targets.
“I have spoken to the board and they have been very good from the moment I walked through the door, and what they are more concerned with – as we all are – is about what we are producing at this moment and making sure we are accumulating points,” admitted Hughton.
“They will be pleased – as we all are here – that we have managed to get ourselves on a good run, but of course we are also conscious that January is not too far away and if we needed reminding then the dozens of phone calls you get each day from agents will soon remind us.
“Whether you speak to me now, in two weeks’ time or a month ago, a scouting network is an ongoing process always.
“As soon as the last window closes you are watching games, looking at players and ultimately it is about decisions on whether you want to strengthen your squad, whether that availability is there, whether you have any problems where you are in the league at that particular time.
“It’s always an ongoing process and it has to be.”
But one route Hughton won’t be taking is any audacious bid for footballing superstar David Beckham, who is leaving US soccer outfit LA Galaxy and has been linked with a possible return to the Premier League – as well as almost every other major football league in the world.
“David is a fine footballer,” smiled Hughton. “I know that he’s got a wonderful pedigree but I don’t see that being a possibility here – although I certainly see it being a possibility elsewhere.”