Chris Hughton believes Norwich City’s ability to pick up Premier League points when far from their best is a visible sign of major improvement on his watch.

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The Canaries’ chief admitted his side failed to scale the heights of previous weeks in a drab goalless affair at Reading, but Hughton insisted another hard-earned point towards the final objective is all that mattered.

“We know we have a side that can play, but we have to be at our best every game. That is the big difference,” he said. “With the top teams, the quality they have got, they can produce something out of nothing. In a poor performance they have that quality to score goals. I think for us we have to be on top of our game all the time. This is a good point for us.

“Any draw or any clean sheet away from home in this division is always a good point. They are a team that amongst their difficulties this season, have been able to score goals. That hasn’t been a problem for Reading.

“For us in the end it is a good result and I would say a fair result. We are certainly more solid at the moment.

“I suppose something has to give and although we have become more solid we haven’t got the goals we would like.”

Hughton erred on the side of caution in the frenetic final quarter with substitutes Elliott Bennett and Steve Morison only introduced in the closing minutes in a bid to try and end the stalemate.

“It is a balancing act. Those are decisions managers have to make,” he said. “Yes, there was a temptation to make them earlier. For that to happen if I wanted to make two changes I would probably have to take Wes (Hoolahan) off and then Wes does something really good so you think, ‘I’ll leave him on a little bit longer’. Those are the decisions you make. Yes, you could make decisions in order to give you an opportunity to go and win it but you could also end up losing it. Wes kept going and even Holty (Grant Holt), even though he didn’t have as much joy in front of goal, I thought it was the right timing to take him off when we did.”

Holt had a rival in the muscular centre forward stakes with Reading’s Jason Roberts a key figure for the Royals before his late withdrawal.

“He gave us a few problems today. He is a handful and we expected that. They are very good at what they do,” said Hughton. “They have quality and they turn you into the channels with the two up front who are good runners. We caused a few of our own problems by giving the ball away and we were certainly not at our best on the ball. In recent weeks we have been better than we showed today but I did think towards the end of the game as it opened up a little bit if there was one team that could carve out something I felt it would be us.”

One trait not in question again was the Canaries’ defensive resolve, with a fourth clean sheet offering a tangible reward for a tough shift at the Madejski Stadium.

“The back four were good because we had to deal with a fair amount of balls into out box, down the channels and we had to defend very well,” said Hughton. “I was pleased for Steven Whittaker. It has been a tough one for him because he has missed that three month chunk and now he is on the back of four consecutive games. That is a tough ask and I think it showed a little bit at the end with him.

“We have had a fair amount of consistency to our (team) selection of late and that breeds confidence. It also gives us real competition for places. Apart from Russell (Martin) we don’t have too many injuries.”

Hughton revealed midfielder Alex Tettey had overcome a back problem to retain his place in the line up whilst Martin is scheduled to step up his return from a back issue this week.

“The next stage will be once he ups his running that he gets no reaction to it,” he said. “We are due to take him out running the early part of the week and he will push on from there.”

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12 comments

  • i think the desert sands have addled your brain dubai, if you think chris martin will add strength. he has not really kicked on from championship level, and sadly with the passing of time, i don't think he ever will.

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    goldeneadie

    Monday, November 12, 2012

  • It only takes a couple of goals and the resultant confidence boost to turn a below average striker into a goal machine. Chris Martin has two good feet, a bit of speed and can head the ball. He appears also to have a poor attitude which blocks the road between being a skilful player and a good one. I hope he will grow up and see his career going nowhere before it is too late.

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    waclor

    Monday, November 12, 2012

  • While I'm happy with the point, the fact is that we still needlessly give away possession in dangerous positions through poor passes sideways or backwards - Garrido is a prime example (fix this and he would be a great player). Bassong can be a little casual at times (though his team mates should be helping by warning him), and I really think we are going to be made to pay for mistakes from these two when we least need it. And I'd love to see us string some passes together again sometime - the team is not pretty attractively at all at present.

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    Dobbino

    Monday, November 12, 2012

  • If we're relying on Chris Martin to 'add strength' I fear we're in for a long wait.We've been waiting at least 5 years for this young man to reach his full potential.It ain't gonna happen.

    Report this comment

    mac'n'boyer

    Monday, November 12, 2012

  • Is Chris Martin still a YOUNG man?

    Report this comment

    DocOhNo

    Monday, November 12, 2012

  • Ha Ha, just seeing if anyone way awake....of course I mean Russ Martin...

    Report this comment

    Dubai Canary

    Monday, November 12, 2012

  • Chris Martin must be do a Testimonial soon !!!!

    Report this comment

    mac'n'boyer

    Monday, November 12, 2012

  • I`ve been concerned about C. Martin leaving for nowt for some time now, MBA. His contract is up next summer and he`ll be over 24. He should have been sold last summer as he clearly has no future @ City. Perhaps there were no offers? Crystal Palace had him on loan but they signed Wilby. CM does have two good feet but not really a lot of pace. He`s had more Chances than a game of Monopoly. I think our Beccles Boy has failed to make the best of the talent he had. With Lambert as his manager and Holty\Wessi as his mentors\role models, he could never have had a better opportunity. Great pity, but his time has run out.

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Tuesday, November 13, 2012

  • Sadly we missed the boat with C Martin, he should have been sold at the end of last season, I would think his stock was a little higher then. sadly now I think we will be lucky to get £500k for him, he suits Chumpionship, league 1 or a SPL team. I would think we are planing to let his contract finish then just give him away!

    Report this comment

    MBA Marine

    Monday, November 12, 2012

  • Good to see the defence toughening up. We still have Chris Martin to add strength and it would be good to see young Ryan Bennett reaching his full potential at thai level. OTBC

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    Dubai Canary

    Monday, November 12, 2012

  • D C did you mean Russell Martin (I hope so) Good defense now with Ryan Bennett & Russ Martin waiting in the wings as good backup should the team be unlucky to get injuries. Now need mid field to buck up and help with scoring a few, Grant Holt has done fabulously for city but needs some help.

    Report this comment

    goldie

    Monday, November 12, 2012

  • Chris Martin's too busy recording parachutes 2,but sadly he hasn't taken the few chances he has had in the last 12 months.

    Report this comment

    wivenhoebudgie

    Monday, November 12, 2012

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