December 9 2013 Latest news:
Paddy Davitt, Norwich City Writer
Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Chris Hughton will test the depth of his new-look Norwich City squad against Bury tonight in the Capital One Cup second round at Carrow Road (7.45pm).
The Canaries’ summer overhaul has provided Hughton with plenty of extra options that could see the competitive returns to action of both Sebastien Bassong and Anthony Pilkington.
Hughton confirmed after the club’s weekend Premier League defeat at Hull the fit-again duo would come into his thoughts ahead of the home test against the League Two club. Bassong has played two development league games since knee surgery, but was omitted from yesterday’s 1-0 Colney defeat to Fulham’s Under-21s.
Pilkington travelled to Humberside but did not feature in Hughton’s match day squad against the Tigers as the City boss looks to ease the midfielder back into the fold after a knee problem restricted his pre-season involvement.
Celtic summer signing Gary Hooper will not be risked for the Shakers’ visit, but Hughton is optimistic the striker could finally return to training ahead of Southampton’s weekend Premier League visit.
“Yes, it’s a little too soon for Gary,” he said. “He has improved the last few days but whether he trains in the early part of the week I don’t know. We are more hopeful towards the latter part of the week that he can get involved in some training.
“There will be changes from Hull and I think it is fair to say that with the players we have brought in that has given us more options.
“The cups are certainly not our priority, because everyone knows how important the Premier League is, but it is still a good opportunity for us to use the squad and to get confidence from games because at this particular moment we have a draw and a defeat on our record and what we would like to do is go into the Southampton game with a win under our belts.”
Hughton knows City will need to up the ante in front of goal after a shut-out against the Tigers at the KC Stadium, despite the second-half introductions of creative trio Wes Hoolahan, Robert Snodgrass and recent signing Johan Elmander.
“You need players who can produce those moments of real quality and we genuinely felt before the game if we could put in a spirited enough performance with enough quality Hull was a place we could get something from,” he said.
“We didn’t allow ourselves to break through into the final third, particularly in that first half, because we lost possession too easily. They had a period when I thought they were better on the ball in midfield and then of course when they go down to 10-men it becomes a different type of game. We had plenty of possession and some of our play was quite good but we needed to get the goal and if that had come you feel possibly we can go on and win the game.”
• This evening’s Carrow Road tie will be played to a finish, with extra-time and penalties if necessary should the game still be level after 90 minutes. Tickets are on general sale, priced £10 for adults, over-65s and under-21s and £1 for under-17s.
• Republic of Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni expects Pilkington to be fit enough to finally link up with the Irish squad for next month’s World Cup qualifiers after a series of previous injury withdrawals.
Pilkington and Hoolahan have been named in a provisional 29-man party for games against Sweden and Austria and the Italian would have no qualms pushing the uncapped midfielder into the firing line for a crucial World Cup double-header.
“He told me that he is hopeful that he will be ready,” said Trapattoni, after announcing his latest squad. “His doctor said he needs a week or two but that he might be ready. I am hopeful that he will come. It would have been better, of course, if he had come and spent some time with us for the friendlies so as to see the system and understand our movement. He could still play, maybe not start, as long as he comes for the week.”
Chris Hughton admitted Norwich’s soft centre again contributed to their downfall as Luis Suarez inspired Liverpool to a 5-1 Premier League win on Wednesday night at Anfield.