Friday, January 25, 2013
Midfielder Andrew Surman will get his first taste of senior football for three months when Norwich City face non-League side Luton Town in the FA Cup fourth round tomorrow.
The 26-year-old has been sidelined with a knee injury since playing in the Capital One Cup victory over Tottenham on October 31, and his last Premier League outing was even longer ago – the 5-2 defeat by Liverpool at the end of September.
Goalkeeper Declan Rudd is also recalled in place of Mark Bunn for the tie against the Hatters at Carrow Road (3pm) as manager Chris Hughton plans changes along similar lines to the third round victory at Peterborough three weeks ago.
On that occasion, Hughton retained only three of the eleven on duty in the previous Premier League fixture at West Ham four days earlier.
And a week after the 5-0 defeat at Liverpool, he said: “I will be making changes. But it will be a strong squad – I just need to determine which eleven will start. But if I look at the 18 they will all be players who have been very much involved in the first team squad this season.”
Full-back Steven Whittaker has an outside chance of a place on the bench after five weeks out with hip injury, while centre-back Sebastien Bassong has trained after missing the Anfield trip with a calf injury, but may not return until the visit of Tottenham on Wednesday.
Striker Steve Morison will not be back from a thigh strain until at least the televised early kick-off at Queens Park Rangers a week tomorrow.
Hughton, however, ruled out calling in defender George Francomb or midfielder Korey Smith, or giving the 17-year-old Murphy twins a senior opportunity.
He believes Paul Buckle’s Hatters, sixth in the Blue Square Premier, cannot be taken lightly after their third round success over Wolves.
“What we are up against, although they are a Conference team, we see very much as a League outfit,” he said.
“They are a big name, a team who have a very good history. They still get very good support and at that level they still have very good players and we are very conscious of what can happen.
“We will be the favourites on the day, irrespective of the team we put out. But there is always that possibility of an upset and that’s why you’ve seen some of the results we have in the last couple of days. That’s what Cup football is all about and we have to be very guarded.”
Hughton at least knows Luton manager Buckle and the captain tomorrow, Ronnie Henry, very well from past experience.
He said: “Paul and I played together at Brentford and I have followed his career and we have met up quite often along the way and certainly kept in contact.
“He was always going to be involved in football. He was always very enthusiastic and very knowledgeable and it is no surprise to see his path into management. Of course, apart from this Saturday, I wish him all the best.
“Ronnie Henry, the right-back, was an apprentice at Tottenham when I was there. He is actually the grandson of a very famous left-back at Tottenham from the 1960-61 team, Ron Henry, who was my first coach when I went to Tottenham.”
Luton will be without on-loan pair Simon Ainge and Scott Neilson, who are both cup-tied.
The Hatters have sold their 4,000 ticket allocation and stadium seats in home areas are also sold out.