Friday, November 23, 2012
Chris Hughton will take any January transfer interest in his Norwich City players as a huge compliment.
The Canaries’ chief believes the depth of quality at his disposal and the club’s recent upturn in Premier League fortunes means it is inevitable there will be speculation regarding potential New Year exits.
Wes Hoolahan and John Ruddy have been linked with surprise Carrow Road moves, but Hughton insisted yesterday he had received no approaches for any of his men.
“We have already seen players mentioned to our club and maybe players mentioned going elsewhere, but there is no truth in it,” he said. “These are the things you have to put up with. It is part of transfer window time. They are a real good group of players. They train well each day and there is good competition for places. One thing that I have been really pleased with is the quality of player that we have. We have good players here.
“It hasn’t been the case, but any calls you do possibly get regarding your own players means they must be doing something right. If they are then it very much benefits the team. Speculation surrounding the players is normal. We are at a period now where we are approaching January and the agents are very, very busy. They are making their phone calls and speculation is part and parcel of the game.”
Hoolahan’s contract situation is common knowledge, with the Dubliner’s current Norwich deal running until June 2014, but Hughton reiterated the Irishman is a key part of his plans.
“All contract talks are always done behind the scenes and they are personal matters within a club,” he said.
“We are always very conscious of how long someone has left and what they mean to us and all that work takes place behind the scenes.
“He is a player that is playing very well at the moment. Fortunately for us he has 18 months left of his contract. If there is anything mentioning him with other clubs, you have to bear in mind it is only speculation. This is a player who is very much in our plans, who is playing in the team and like I say playing very well.”
Hughton believes City’s impressive run of late is a testament to the club’s astute recruitment policy during the previous transfer window, with six of his signings starting the Manchester United win.
“When I came here in the summer I was made aware that funds would be made available but what I was very conscious of is that we have a very good squad already,” he said. “I have good players and it was just trying to get the right balances so I was keen to do that. I have been delighted with the input of the lads we brought in. It is never easy to integrate into a new squad and credit must go to the ones who were already here.”
Hughton revealed one of those summer additions, defender Michael Turner, is ‘touch and go’ for tomorrow’s trip to Everton after damaging his shoulder against United. He is optimistic Ruddy will be fit to face his former club despite injuring his knee in the closing stages of the 1-0 victory.
“It was that collision at the end of the game and it was literally the last ten seconds,” said Hughton. “It wasn’t the collision with Paul Scholes as such, but more how he went down. It was a little bit sore the following day and so there is always a little bit of concern, but he had it checked out and he has come through that. He is looking to train and we will make a decision on it but we are delighted with the progress he has made. He has just done some individual training with Dave (Watson) as opposed to training within the group, but the good news he is fine.
“Michael took a knock in the same game so he will be touch and go but we are hopeful he will be okay. He is another one who hasn’t trained since the United match.”
Russell Martin has returned to full training after his back injury and could make the trip. Hughton also confirmed Tottenham loan striker Harry Kane is poised to return to the club before the hectic Christmas period following his foot surgery.
“Yes he is making good progress. The decision we had to make is where he is in his rehab stage,” said Hughton. “He is running now and we could bring him back here for that period, but he is still better off at Tottenham because I think it benefits him to be in familiar surroundings. We’ll give it another couple of weeks perhaps to the stage where he can really get himself involved in some football and bring him back.
“Russell has had two days training, which is good, so he is pushing on. There is a chance he will travel with us (to Everton). ”