Chris Hughton - Norwich City fans need a Premier League lift
Chris Hughton knows his Norwich City side have to give the fans a cause to rally behind ahead of tonight's televised Premier League game against Arsenal (5.30pm).
The Canaries will be backed by an expected Carrow Road sell out crowd, which could number Republic of Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni who is reportedly set to watch City duo Wes Hoolahan and Anthony Pilkington.
Hughton accepts heavy league defeats against Liverpool and Chelsea prior to the international break fall short of the standards City's loyal fan base should rightfully expect.
'We have a support who know it is going to be ups and downs. What they want to see is a response,' he said. 'They want to see a group of players trying and giving their all. What we have been guilty of is making individual mistakes and errors of judgement. As regards the work ethic, I'm sure they have seen that. The fans have been very good and we know the only way to repay them is give them something they can get behind on the football pitch.'
Hughton insists, however, City still have plenty of time on their side this season in what he predicts will be a scrap embroiling a number of clubs.
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'I always tend to be as positive as I can. There are fine dividing lines where we drew three and could arguably have won all three,' he said. 'The perspective would then be different. Where we have been fortunate in some ways is there are a group teams around us who also have not been able to get those two or three wins to take them away from it. I would like to think that first win is just around the corner. We have a good squad and there will always be disappointment from players who are not playing, but the mood in the squad is really good. It is certainly not the mood of a team on the back of a couple of heavy defeats. That is encouraging, but we knew it was going to be a tough season.'
Hughton has also received an injury boost on the eve of the Gunners' visit with Steven Whittaker closing in a first team return. The fit-again defender is scheduled for a development run out early next week in the U21 fixture at Reading.
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'We have a development game on Monday which he will be involved in,' confirmed Hughton. 'He has done a lot of training and he is fit and perhaps regards availability is a little short of match practice. But I see him being available soon.'