December 12 2013 Latest news:
Friday, September 21, 2012
Former Norwich City forward Ruel Fox is confident manager Chris Hughton can consolidate the club’s Premier League status – whether or not they have to wait a bit longer for that first victory of the season.
Hughton returns to one of his former clubs on Sunday when the Canaries take on Newcastle United at St James’ Park (3pm), still looking for the first league win of his reign.
Fox, who spent a year and a half with the Magpies, has a sneaking feeling City will not return home from the North East empty-handed, but believes that whatever the result, their new boss will prove a success at Carrow Road.
The 44-year-old ex-Canary knows Hughton’s capabilities as a coach from his five-year spell as a player at Tottenham.
“Paul Lambert was a hard act to follow at Norwich, anyone who’s as successful as that would be,” said Fox.
“Not every manager would have wanted to take on that job but Chris is a very confident person.
“I knew Chris while I was at Tottenham and he was on the coaching staff. He worked with the reserves and later the first team and we got on well.
“He’s come to Norwich and inherited a successful squad and he just has to stamp his authority on it. It won’t happen overnight but I think they’re starting to gel.
“The players have to understand that the second season in the Premier League is often harder. They had that surprise element last season and there was a sense of ‘We’re here, let’s enjoy it’ but the second time around the clubs all know how Norwich play.
“There have been a few additions to the squad and it will take time to settle down but they seem to be playing well, it’s just a case of knocking the goals in. I saw the highlights of the game at Tottenham and I thought they were fantastic.”
Fox made his first visit to Carrow Road for a while to watch last week’s goalless draw against West Ham United.
“It looked like one of those games where in the end both teams were happy with a draw, but Chris will look at it as two points dropped because you look to win your home games,” he said.
“But there are a lot of teams all fighting for the same thing. The Premier League is like three leagues in one and realistically Norwich and West Ham are likely to be in that lower tier.
“You have to take a deep breath and be a bit sensible. Survival is the main thing and anything above that is a bonus.”
Hughton’s shock dismissal by Newcastle in 2010, after winning the Championship title and 60 per cent of his matches as manager, could act as an added incentive on Sunday.
“Newcastle were in a worse position than Norwich when he took that job in terms of the squad he had,” said Fox.
“Chris started off the turnaround up there and it worked well for him but things like that happen in football. It doesn’t matter if the manager is being loyal and doing well, the owner decided Chris wasn’t the man to take the club any further forwards.”
Fox, who scored 25 goals in 219 senior games for the Canaries, earned a £2.25m move to Newcastle in 1994, where manager Kevin Keegan thrust him into a side that boasted the attacking talents of Peter Beardsley, David Ginola and Les Ferdinand. He played 70 times and scored 14 goals before joining Tottenham.
In Fox’s one full season with Newcastle, they finished sixth in the Premier League, while at Norwich he sampled the heady heights of third place under Mike Walker in 1992-93.
City are unlikely to scale such heights again as in that first Premier League season, but Fox believes the trip to Tyneside can bear fruit.
“Norwich will be hoping Newcastle are a bit tired after their European game, but I think they will use the squad, they’ve got enough players to change it round,” he said.
“But you may see a different performance from Norwich up there. There isn’t the pressure because they’re not expected to win and if they’re more relaxed they can play well.
“The pressure is on Newcastle. I’m confident they will come away with something.”
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.