Paddy Davitt, Norwich City Writer
Monday, January 6, 2014
David Fox’s midfield masterclass was a testament to his professionalism, insisted Norwich City boss Chris Hughton.
The 30-year-old’s last start for Hughton came in a sour FA Cup fourth round exit to Luton which signalled a prolonged period in the wilderness for the cultured playmaker. Fox was deemed surplus to requirements this season and joined Championship strugglers Barnsley on a three month loan, but Norwich’s desperate injury plight prompted his return to the first-team fold. Fox’s calming presence in central midfield against the Cottagers helped City dominate territory and possession for long spells, with Josh Murphy in particular benefiting from his regular supply. Hughton stopped short of conceding Fox had played his way back into his Premier League plans. but the 30-year-old’s stock appeared to have certainly risen.
“I will have to fully go through the game again and assess things but I am delighted for David because it has been a tough time for him in his career,” said Hughton. “He hasn’t played the games he would like under me. He went to Barnsley and had a short illness when he was there which meant he didn’t play for the last five or six games and couldn’t get himself back in so to be put straight in and give us 90 minutes here was a tough ask. I think he was flagging a little bit towards the end but I was really pleased for him. He is here and he is back now and it has been an unfortunate time for him.
“I thought we gave everything to win the game. We had to make wholesale changes with the injuries we have. David played his first game in six weeks, Javier Garrido played his first game in midfield for us and I think the first of his career and young Josh (Murphy) was making his first start.”
Murphy capped a vibrant first senior start for the club with a cut-back despatched by Robert Snodgrass to cancel out Darren Bent’s sloppy opener.
“We had to manoeuvre the team around a fair bit and taking that all into consideration I felt we were worthy of the win if you look at our work in the final third and the amount of balls into the box,” said Hughton. “I thought particularly on that left-hand side we got a lot of crosses into the box. On the balance of play we deserved it. We conceded a poor goal. It is there for all to see. It was a fairly hopeful ball into our box and there is no doubt we should have dealt with it better.
“It was a goal out of nothing. We showed spirit to come back and we scored at the right time because we didn’t deserve to be behind at half-time.”
Norwich must now prepare for an FA Cup replay next week just four days before Hull’s crunch Premier League visit.
“Probably with the injuries we have it is the worst possible result and the same for Rene (Meulensteen) because neither of us needed a replay,” said Hughton.