Charity begins at home for Norwich City
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Chris Hughton earned a credit for Cardiff's Championship title win but the Norwich City boss is keen to deliver a reminder just how tough it will be for the Bluebirds' to retain their Premier League status.
Malky Mackay attributed Hughton's willingness to lend him former Norwich defender Leon Barnett towards the end of last season as a pivotal factor in Cardiff's passage to promotion. Mackay's men have already proved with a win over Manchester City they can bridge the quality gap, but sentiment is likely to be in short supply for the ex-Canaries' stalwart on Saturday afternoon.
'I have a good relationship with him and he is one I speak to every now and then,' said Hughton. 'He has progressed his career the right way since starting out at Watford. He was always that type who could go into management and those here at Norwich who know him well would tell you he was always a leader and he has managed to carry that into his management. I watched a lot of the games last season and they deserved all the plaudits.
'I think the clubs coming up now have more resources than in previous years. If you looked back up until a few years ago with the spending there was always that gulf. Now you look at Cardiff's spending capacity and perhaps that is the difference. You look at someone like Steven Caulker and I think he is going to be a very good centre half. For most it was a little bit of a surprise, but I think they were able to acquire his services because of what they were prepared to pay for him. He was a reasonable regular (at Tottenham) so it was a very good purchase.'
Mackay has also had to overcome the unwanted distraction of losing his head of recruitment Iain Moody earlier this month on the apparent whim of the club's Malaysian owner.
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'Most of us don't know the full story so it is difficult to speak about aspects of what happened,' said Hughton. 'What I do know is Malky has done an incredibly good job there. He steadied the ship and they went up in fine style. They were worthy of their promotion and he has bought well. I don't think there is any question about the job Malky has done. As a manager you just want to concentrate on things like the tactics and preparing your team to get results. Every game in itself is such a tough examination and it needs your full concentration. It is always tough in your first Premier League season but they have had some good results.'
Hughton retains a healthy respect for Cardiff's attacking power.
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'They have a lot of energy in the side. They were very impressive at Fulham and to beat Manchester City at home is a big feat. I think they have had a decent start,' he said. 'They play at a high tempo, they are a hard-working side but in people like (Peter) Odemwingie up front they have quality. They've very much improved the squad and they look to have a good spirit and are well-organised. I just prefer to focus on us and our qualities and assets and generally we have been good at home.'