Hughes can go on loan – Lambert

Norwich City midfielder Stephen Hughes is reportedly being tracked by a trio of Scottish Premier League clubs after Paul Lambert agreed to sanction a loan move.

Aberdeen were linked with the 28-year-old earlier this week but the Dons have now been joined by SPL rivals Hibernian and St Johnstone in the race to sign the Scot.

Lambert watched Hughes make his long-awaited competitive comeback from an ankle injury with a match-winning strike in the Canaries' Norfolk Senior Cup quarter-final win at Carrow Road on Monday.

Now the Canaries boss believes Hughes will benefit from stepping up his recovery by playing regular first-team football after confirming clubs north and south of the border are interested.

'I have spoken to Stephen and we agreed we need to get him some games and this is the right time for him to go out on loan,' said Lambert. 'He has had a hard time with this injury. There are options for him in Scotland and England, now we have to find the right one for him.'

Dons' boss Craig Brown, who recently replaced Mark McGhee at Pittodrie, is in the market for experienced midfielders to bolster his young squad. Former Norwich wide player Simon Whaley has also been linked with Brown following his release from Doncaster after working under the ex-Scotland national manager at Preston.

Fellow SPL strugglers Hibs are also reportedly interested in taking Hughes to Edinburgh, with Colin Calderwood under increasing pressure after the humiliating midweek Scottish FA Cup exit to part-timers Ayr. St Johnstone boss Derek McInnes is a former Rangers team mate of Hughes who broke through at the Glasgow giants prior to spells at Leicester and Motherwell.

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Hughes has been unable to establish himself as a first-team regular at Carrow Road since his free transfer switch in the summer of 2009.

The former Ibrox trainee made 12 league starts during the Canaries' triumphant League One title-winning campaign, with Darel Russell largely preferred in the holding midfield role, but Hughes did earn a first full Scottish international cap for a friendly against Japan in October 2009.

The Motherwell-born player had only featured twice this season from the bench for Norwich before undergoing ankle surgery in October. Hughes played the full 90 minutes against Norwich United on Monday – scoring the only goal of the tie to set up a home semi-final against either Blofield or Dereham.

Lambert has already allowed striker Oli Johnson to join Yeovil on a temporary deal during the current January transfer window, while central defender Jens Berthel Askou moved to Championship rivals Millwall for a month yesterday.