Sebastien Bassong is making good progress from his hamstring injury but is yet to train with Norwich's first team this week ahead of the Premier League trip to Chelsea. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Paddy Davitt, EDP Sports Writer
Thursday, October 4, 2012
Chris Hughton has not ruled out a swift injury return for Norwich City defender Sebastien Bassong to face Premier League leaders Chelsea at Stamford Bridge this weekend.
Bassong’s absence was acutely felt in the 5-2 home defeat to Liverpool but Hughton confirmed on Thursday afternoon the centre back is making good progress on the hamstring injury suffered against former club Newcastle.
Bassong has yet to re-join first team training this week, but Hughton is prepared to give the Cameroon international every chance to line up against the star-studded Blues. The City boss also revealed midfielder Anthony Pilkington is back in training after his back problem.
“At the moment with both we are assessing them very closely,” said Hughton, speaking at his pre-match press call at Colney. “Pilkington trained today and we need to make sure that is right. Bassong has made big strides over the past week and he is one we will assess for the weekend. He didn’t train properly today but was very close to it so it is one we have to make a decision.
“Do we miss him? He is a quality player, of course, you only have to look at the games he has been involved in. He has fared very, very well for us so it was a blow to be without him (for Liverpool). How he would have affected the game is impossible to say in hindsight but certainly any opportunity to get him back will be a major plus for us.”
Hughton acknowledged a trip to the champions of Europe is a tough ask for his men after last weekend’s below-par home hammering to the Reds.
“Whether it is this week, next week or next month we have got to play them. They are playing extremely well,” he said. “They have good options within the team and they have probably changed the style of play a little bit from last season. Perhaps if anything they are a bit more adventurous and they have more rotation with the forward players. It will be a tough task. It would be that whether we were on the back of a defeat or in the middle of a good run. It is a difficult place to go. You know that before you go there. You just have to set up the team correctly and give a good account of ourselves.
“It is never an enjoyable week after such a result like that. You are still going over in your mind the last performance to start with and from that point onwards it is about what can you work on to improve for the rest of the week. It is normal in football. You win games, you lose games. If you lose, you hope they are going to end up tight affairs. That was the case at Newcastle the week before. It always hurts, particularly if it is a big defeat. You have to bounce back. You have to see an improvement and that is what the work has been about this week.”