Chris Hughton - Dani Ayala has a big Norwich City future
Chris Hughton insisted tonight young defender Dani Ayala has a big future at Norwich after sanctioning a season-long loan switch to Nottingham Forest.
The Canaries' boss reiterated he had no interest in offloading the classy centre-back, but wants Ayala to step up his football education at the promotion contenders.
Hughton, speaking after the latest friendly draw at Hull, also dismissed reports Forest were interested in a deal for Elliott Ward, who along with Wes Hoolahan missed the goalless trip to the KC with minor knocks.
'Whether there is any fact (in those reports) I don't know. There hasn't been any official contact,' said Hughton. 'They initially came in and asked about Ayala and I had a decision to make. I have to say it wasn't a particularly easy decision but then if I look at what we have got it wasn't a hard one either.
'He is a player I like but he played some six or seven games last season so he missed quite a bit of last season through injury. I just feel if he can get regular games he will come back a better player.
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'He is a player I am sure if we wanted to sell, I could sell him but I wasn't interested in selling him. He has gone out on loan to a good club with a good manager that will certainly play a good, attractive passing game. But he has also gone to a club where there is a bit of pressure.
'They have got high expectations the Forest supporters. They have brought in new players and they have new owners so it was important for me he went somewhere with that pressure on the lad.
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'They are a club who want to have a go in the division and that played a part in it as well.'
Hughton reassured Ayala he is part of his long term plans before his City Ground exit.
'It's a good move for the lad,' he said. 'I spoke to him before he went and he is a player that we want to go out on loan as oppose to sell him because we feel he is a player with potential. If he can go and get real good Championship experience in a tough division this season then I want him to get games under his belt and he will certainly come back a better player.'
Hughton also delivered a positive injury bulletin with midfield duo David Fox and Jacob Butterfield now back in training with the squad after a disrupted pre-season. Young midfielder Korey Smith has been given time off on compassionate grounds after a family bereavement.