Norwich City boss Chris Hughton dismisses talk of Ricky van Wolfswinkel relegation exit strategy
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Norwich boss Chris Hughton insisted on Thursday afternoon there is no relegation clause in the club record deal that enticed Ricky van Wolfswinkel to Carrow Road.
Hughton echoed the denial of chief executive David McNally earlier this week following quotes attributed to the Dutchman's agent, Louis Laros, which claimed van Wolfswinkel's move is dependent on City retaining their Premier League status.
'I have heard those reports but the facts are that he has signed for Norwich City and I expect to see him on the first of July,' he said. 'Any talk of a relegation clause in the contract is not fact. That is where we are and we look forward to seeing him next season.'
Hughton also insisted no decision had been reached on the long term future of Sporting Kansas loan striker Kei Kamara. The Sierre Leone international's short-term City deal is due to expire on May 6 ahead of the club's final two Premier League games.
'We are conscious that a decision has to be made on him,' said Hughton. 'He has made a good impact. We still have a bit of time. It's not for a few weeks that we need to make that decision and we are putting our heads together to see what we want to do. That's club business and you perhaps wouldn't expect me to say anything, but we are working hard to make the right decisions.'
Hughton revealed at Colney he is 'hopeful' midfielder Bradley Johnson is passed fit for this weekend's crunch game against Reading after suffering a dead leg at Arsenal. Anthony Pilkington and Wes Hoolahan both return to the squad and Hughton admitted England international John Ruddy is also in his thoughts after a second successful development outing.
'These are the decisions we have to make,' he said. 'What is very important for us is that he will continue to put himself in contention by the fact he has played two development games, but also we are conscious he has been out a long time. We will endeavour to get those decisions right but certainly in Mark Bunn we have a keeper who has done very well. Anthony is available. It was our decision to leave him out last week because he had been out for a while. We thought about putting him on the bench and he was fit enough to do that. We decided not to take the risk but he very much comes into contention and with Bradley we are hoping he is going to be fit.'
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Hughton is striving to keep the pressure off his players ahead of a potentially pivotal fixture at Carrow Road in their fight to avoid becoming embroiled in the relegation battle.
'It is a wonderful division to be in. Everyone at this football club has worked hard to get here,' he said. 'I think that will always be part of my job (to be positive). Perhaps that is in the persona that I project but it really is a genuine feeling. There are highs and lows in the season and you have to look at it overall. We have had some good performances, we have only lost three games at home all season, and these are the positives you have to keep hold of. We also have a committed group of players who train well every day. We have a good spirit between the squad and good competition for places and you have to look forward to these type of challenges.'