Friday, January 4, 2013
Goalkeeper Declan Rudd will make only his second senior appearance of the season as Norwich City visit in-form Championship side Peterborough United in the FA Cup third round tomorrow.
Rudd, who appeared in the Canaries’ pre-season friendly away to Posh, returns to London Road (3pm) and Jed Steer will be on the substitutes’ bench as manager Chris Hughton gives ’keeper Mark Bunn a breather after he started the last nine first team games.
“Yes, Declan will play,” said Hughton. “That was a decision I made a while ago. Of course with results sometimes you can change your mind, but I was quite adamant I wanted to go this way.
“Declan has trained very well, I have to say, and I think he deserves his chance. Jed will be on the bench.”
Rudd, who will be 22 later this month, last appeared in the Capital One Cup tie against Scunthorpe in August.
Hughton said he planned to “use the squad” against Posh and revealed that three players returning from loan spells – defender Elliott Ward back from Nottingham Forest, and midfielders Jacob Butterfield from Bolton and Simon Lappin from Cardiff – were also in contention for a recall, but he said he would not make wholesale changes in the wake of four straight league defeats.
“They are back now, they are very much Norwich City players. Elliott is the one, perhaps out of three, who has played the most regularly. In the period he’s been away he’s not started in only two games,” said Hughton. “Jacob was a little disappointing because we hoped he would have started more games for Bolton. He didn’t get the time on the football pitch that we wanted.”
Midfielder Bradley Johnson is available again after a one-match ban, and Hughton confirmed on-loan striker Harry Kane was eligible to play in the FA Cup.
But goalkeeper John Ruddy (thigh), strikers Grant Holt (hamstring) and Steve Morison (thigh), defender Steven Whittaker (hip) and midfielder Andrew Surman (knee) are still out.
“Stevie has a thigh strain which will certainly keep him out for a few weeks,” said Hughton. “We are far more hopeful with Grant. He’ll miss this weekend, but we are very hopeful for the Newcastle game on Saturday week. Grant is close, but Stevie is perhaps that little bit longer.
“There is no timeline for Steven Whittaker but he is making progress. I would expect him to miss the next couple of games – we are looking at Peterborough and Newcastle and I hope he will be available shortly after that.
“Andrew trained today and he has come through fine. The only shame was if he had been at this stage a week ago he could possibly have had some involvement on Saturday but I feel it has probably come a bit too soon for him. He trained today, felt fine and we hope he can push on. How quickly he is available for games will depend on how he looks in training.”
Hughton admits he must strike a balance between giving fringe players a chance, giving regular players a rest and giving City every chance of going through to round four in front of more than 5,000 travelling fans.
“Yes I will use the squad because we have really good competition at the moment and there are players who have been very unfortunate not to play as many games as they would have liked,” he said. “It certainly wouldn’t be anything to do with what they have given us in training or the efforts they have put in.
“Sometimes the difference between those who are playing and those who are not playing is not that great.
“But it won’t be wholesale changes as such, not as in the League Cup. It is still very much a cup competition we want to make progress in.”
Peterborough will be without three of the players who have helped them to four victories in their last five Championship games.
Defender Gabriel Zakuani has left for African Cup of nations duty with DR Congo, Lee Tomlin is serving a three-match ban for a red card in the 4-2 defeat at Bristol City, and on-loan striker Dwight Gayle is cup-tied after appearing in the competition for Dagenham & Redbridge in the first round.