Chris Hughton insists Norwich City will hold their nerve in the Premier League survival stakes

Norwich City boss Chris Hughton is in no doubt the Premier League survival battle will go right to t

Norwich City boss Chris Hughton is in no doubt the Premier League survival battle will go right to the wire. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Chris Hughton insists the Canaries will not wilt in the white hot heat of a Premier League survival scrap.

The City chief knows Reading's visit heralds the start of a pivotal five-game stretch in the midst of the tightest relegation battle for a number of seasons, with seven clubs from 12th-placed Southampton downwards separated by seven points.

'No, I'm not surprised because you're never surprised by the quality of this division. We're always harping on about the fact that every game is a tough game and that's the way it's been,' he said. 'Even the victories we have had this season have been hard fought, so no, it's not a surprise. I think there will be a lot of quality shown in this division right through to the very last day. What I keep saying to the players and everybody is that if you look at our season, apart from a difficult period at the start, we haven't been in the bottom three. We still have six very good clubs below us at this moment and it is very much our intention to stay where we are.

'Our aim is to approach this game as we always do. Is it bigger than the next four games after that? Yes it is, because it's the next one. In every game we play we have to look at the possibility of getting wins and that begins against Reading.'

Hughton detects no outward signs of stress among the men under his command.

'We are coping very well (with the pressure),' he said. 'There is certainly what you might call bigger clubs than ourselves who are not in the position we are in the table right now and we have to take all that on board. We know we have to get points.

'Our recent form has probably not been reflected in the points, because we certainly feel in the last two games if the officials' decisions had been better we could be talking in terms of having more.

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'I am quite sure we would have gone on to get a win or two which would have been valuable at this stage of the season. Reading is the start. You play one game, you try and get the best result you can and then it's very quickly onto the next, but it will be determined on how well we do over these final five games.'

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