August 20 2014 Latest news:
by Paddy Davitt
Monday, July 30, 2012
Sourcing a ticket for the Olympic 100m final looks easier than nailing down a place in Norwich City’s Premier League starting line-up.
Chris Hughton’s judicious recruitment policy allied to a squad who proved themselves more than adept at coping with the rigours of top flight football arguably leaves only John Ruddy assured of a place at Craven Cottage on August 18.
James Vaughan’s third strike in a week underlined the striker’s predatory instincts remain sharper than ever with Steve Morison’s first half hooked finish the least City deserved for a dominance founded on midfield control.
Andrew Crofts was deployed in the defensive shielding role operated by Jonny Howson at Celtic Park, but Wes Hoolahan and Andrew Surman got another chance to work on forging a creative central axis. Chris Martin and Simeon Jackson flanked Morison, before Hughton’s deep reserves saw Vaughan and Grant Holt paired to full effect in a re-shaped system during a raft of second-half changes from both clubs that reduced the final quarter to a gentle fitness exercise. Vaughan’s fearsome hit in the 85th minute from Holt’s perfect pass was a razor-sharp reminder of the latent potential at Hughton’s disposal.
“He is taking his chance so far,” said the City boss. “We made a lot of changes in those last 20 minutes and I guess with defenders the last thing you want is a striker who can play on the last shoulder with a bit of pace to get in behind. It was certainly a good time to bring him on and we benefited.
“I think we’re trying to make the most of what I have got. I’ve got five strikers so rather than play two and leave players out I would rather ensure they get the right amount of minutes at this stage of pre-season. It’s getting a feel for the players and adapting to what I have got.”
Hughton felt the Canaries could have made more of their frequent forays into Peteborough’s final third. But that will come.
“We’ve emerged unscathed against a very good Peterborough team who I know very well from last season. I knew we wouldn’t get an easy game,” he said. “We fielded all of the first team squad apart from the new signings and one or two minor injuries.
“It is another clean sheet, which is nice, and we added to our goal tally. You like to think as pre-season progresses, our sharpness in the final third can improve because I thought we got into some good areas again. It is about a 90 minutes work exercise for the team and you don’t expect them to be right at it or to be as sharp as they will be in a few weeks but it will probably be a typical game at this stage.”
Neither Robert Snodgrass nor Michael Turner were involved ahead of training with their new team-mates for the first time yesterday morning. Steven Whittaker (ankle) and David Fox (knee) were also notable absentees at London Road, but Hughton insists there is no cause for alarm. Scottish international Whittaker is expected to miss this week’s games against Ajax and MK Dons as City’s medical staff continue to assess the extent of the injury suffered at Celtic. Fox is now back running after a disrupted start to his pre-season build up.
“David is still to train with us in this pre-season period. He is doing some very good running and I am hopeful he will be able to train with us at some stage this week,” confirmed Hughton. “That will be important because in effect apart from young Tom (Adeyemi), he is the only one that I haven’t seen. I look forward to seeing him. It is just a little problem with his knee, but it is only a slight problem, I think if it was anything more than that there would be some concern but there is no concern. It is just a matter of time. With Steven at the moment we are still assessing it. We hope he will not be too bad. He will certainly miss at least the next week, which in all probability means the games on Tuesday and Friday.”
• Peterborough: Olejnik, Zakuani (Brisley 65), Richens (Little 66), Nthle (Grant 66), Knight-Percival, McCann (Newell 66), Mendez-Laing (Swanson 52), Bostwick (Frecklington 66), Boyd (Tomlin 66), Barnett (Kearns 66), Taylor (Ajose 78). Subs (not used): Sage, Lawlor.
• Norwich: Rudd, R Martin (R Bennett 45), Ayala (Ward 70), Barnett, Lappin (Tierney 70), Crofts (Howson 70), Hoolahan (Johnson 70), Surman (E Bennett 70), Jackson (Pilkington 70), Morison (Holt 70), C Martin (Vaughan 70). Sub (not used): Ruddy.
• Goals: Morison (32), Vaughan (85)
• Referee: Kevin Wright (Cambs)