Norwich City boss Chris Hughton draws high praise from Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson believes Chris Hughton has had a 'stabilising' effect on Norwich City.

After a tricky start to the campaign, Hughton has adopted a more solid approach, which has seen the Canaries go on a five-match unbeaten run.

Ferguson believes City are reaping the benefits of the experience Hughton gained during his time at Newcastle and Birmingham.

'Chris Hughton has done a good job at Norwich,' said Ferguson.

'He gathered experience from his time at Newcastle and did a great job at Birmingham last year.

'It has taken a bit of time but you can see he is stabilising his own team now.'

Ferguson brings his side to Carrow Road on the back of an impressive comeback from 2-0 down against Aston Villa last weekend as second-half substitute Javier Hernandez turned the tide in United's favour.

Most Read

However, with the options Ferguson has available the Mexican is still not guaranteed a starting spot and the Scot admitted it's never easy leaving players out.

Whilst Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney are acknowledged to be automatic choices in Ferguson's first-choice starting XI, Hernandez and Danny Welbeck must also be factored into his thinking. It is a similar situation to when United won the treble in 1999 as Ferguson had the likes of Dwight Yorke, Andy Cole, Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunner Solskjaer to choose from.

'It is no harder,' said Ferguson. 'Teddy Sheringham was never happy being left out. Andy Cole certainly wasn't. He would grump and groan for three days because he wanted to play all the time.

'I have no problem with that.

'The important thing is to feel as though you are being fair and that they are making a contribution over the course of the season.

'That is what the four of them did (in 1999). They all scored such important goals. The legend of Sheringham and Solskjaer scoring the goals in Barcelona will always remain.

'You can't dismiss that.'

Already Ferguson has stepped back slightly from his post-Villa statement that Hernandez would start at Norwich, saying now that the striker 'should' play.

For Welbeck, the situation is even less certain.

By Ferguson's own admission, the 21-year-old has performed better for England this year than United, largely because Roy Hodgson has been able to accommodate Welbeck in the central position he prefers.

'It is difficult,' said Ferguson.

'I don't know how I can answer that other than to say you tend to rely on the experience of Robin and Wayne, who are both great players.

'At the moment, we have tended to play Danny wide left, which is maybe a bit unfair.

'He is capable of playing there. He can still provide a certain threat coming off the side of a game.

'But he is a natural centre-forward and has shown with his form for England that he can be a real asset to us through the middle.

'That will come for him, no question.'