Norwich City boss Chris Hughton confirms John Ruddy sat out Real Sociedad 1-1 draw with back injury
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Chris Hughton confirmed first choice keeper John Ruddy will be in contention for this weekend's pre-season finale against Panathinaikos after missing Tuesday night's 1-1 draw against Real Sociedad with a slight back injury.
Club-record signing Ricky van Wolfswinkel scored his first goal for the Canaries, but it was Ruddy's absence from the matchday squad that overshadowed the build up following on from Chelsea's public courting of the England international earlier this summer.
Hughton revealed Ruddy had suffered a minor back problem in training this week which prompted the City boss to adopt a cautious policy with the stopper, who missed more than five months of the previous Premier League season after injuring his thigh at Everton prior to Christmas.
'He just felt his back a couple of days ago and it would have been a little bit of a risk to play him in this game but he is fine,' said Hughton. 'He will be fit and available for Saturday. He has trained right the way through the pre-season and had no injury problems at all.
'There has never been any trace of a recurrence of the injury he had last season. He has got that good base of fitness work behind him over the summer and this is just unfortunate timing. We could have risked him in this game but it is important he is available to train and play this weekend.'
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Hughton admitted van Wolfswinkel's first strike for the Canaries was a major boost in a useful work out against the Champions League hopefuls, after the Dutchman bundled home Leroy Fer's near post header.
'I don't know if it will make a difference to how he performs for us because he is someone who is used to scoring goals but you want your strikers to get off the mark and the fact he has got the first one at home it matters a little bit,' he said. 'If you are a number nine it doesn't matter how you score. They all count and particularly to do it here in front of our own supporters. They turned out in good numbers and I was really delighted for them. We all know the real business doesn't start for ten days or so.
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'These are a very good side. I think you saw in phases of the game why these are a Champions League side. This is the type of game we wanted and needed at this stage of the pre-season. We just need to make sure we have a squad that is competitive. It is difficult to get everybody up at the same levels.'