Chris Hughton believes Norwich City have the strength in depth to test Tottenham’s stars
Chris Hughton is adamant Norwich City have the strength in depth to edge past Tottenham in tonight's Capital One Cup fourth round tie at Carrow Road.
The Canaries' chief will not jeopardize the club's Premier League prospects in pursuit of further cup progress, but Hughton insists those players waiting in the wings are more than capable of knocking out Spurs.
Steven Whittaker and Jacob Butterfield will get a chance to underline they are ready for league action ahead of Stoke's weekend visit whilst midfield trio Jonny Howson, Andrew Surman and Robert Snodgrass could have an opportunity to reinforce their claims.
'It is still my responsibility as the manager to work with the squad we have got and I am fortunate in that respect,' said Hughton. 'It is not as if when I look at the players outside the last starting XI, as such, that they are young up-and-coming players. They are really pushing the others for places. I have to try and keep some continuity but also strive to have that real competition in the team.
'As football managers you always have to get the right balance between getting a real good competition within the team. Of course you are always going to get players who are desperate to play, but where I am fortunate is we don't have injuries at the moment, apart from Russell (Martin). We have a squad full of Premier League players and it is my job to get the right balance.'
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Martin will not be risked this evening after a back spasm forced his early retirement at Villa Park over the weekend. Whittaker could prove a ready made deputy with the Scottish international poised for a senior debut after a lengthy lay-off with ankle ligament trouble.
Midfielder Butterfield is also back in the mix after suffering a reaction to his long term knee injury in the previous round's home win over Doncaster.
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'I think Jacob would probably be the youngest involved in this group,' said Hughton, who also confirmed yesterday his back-up keeper Mark Bunn is fit and available. 'Steven is another one I am disappointed that we brought in and haven't seen enough of him yet. It is a really good opportunity and what you are bringing into the team is someone of his experience and age.
'Russell is still pretty sore at the minute so he will miss the game, but apart from that everyone else is fit and available. We'll need that because we although we are mainly injury-free now we will have spells during the season when we won't be. We don't think it will be long. He is sore and has been since Saturday so certainly not for this game but we will assess it and hopefully he will be ready for the weekend.'
Hughton knows positive Premier League results against Arsenal and Aston Villa since the international break have generated a momentum he is keen to capitalise on.
'We have always had that confidence but it helps if you are able to beat the likes of an Arsenal at Carrow Road and on the back of that one it was a very good performance at Aston Villa that should have been another win,' he said. 'We accept as a club nothing will come easy to us, but no doubt we are in good form and on the back of four points from last six it lifts everybody.'
Extra-time and penalties will follow if the sides are level after 90 minutes. The draw for the quarter-finals will take place on Sky Sports after tonight's three remaining ties.