Norwich City boss Chris Hughton is running out of central midfield options

Fulham match-winner Scott Parker takes no prisoners with a crunching tackle on Norwich City's Ricky

Fulham match-winner Scott Parker takes no prisoners with a crunching tackle on Norwich City's Ricky van Wolfswinkel in the Cottagers' 2-1 Premier League win. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Chris Hughton confirmed after City's late loss to the Cottagers that key midfielder Jonny Howson remains a major doubt for Manchester United's weekend visit after missing his second game of the festive period with a back injury.

Hughton will also be without the suspended Michael Turner against the champions after he picked up a fifth caution of the season in the second half at Carrow Road. Fulham match-winner Scott Parker dominated central midfield in tandem with Steve Sidwell and Hughton conceded he has little room for manoeuvre should Howson be unavailable along with longer term injury absentee Alex Tettey.

'We are still assessing Jonny and the back that he felt a few days ago. At this moment he is not right. Yes, you would have to say there is a chance he will miss Manchester United but we are assessing it each day,' said Hughton. 'It will be a tough one for him to be ready. It is difficult in those midfield areas because we have four injured so we know that we are limited in what we might want to change but I still feel the squad is competitive.

'It is my job to make the right decisions going into Saturday.

'One thing about the injuries is they come back. Alex was a big blow for us but we're expecting and hopeful he'll be back come mid-January, which we hope will be the same for Anthony Pilkington. What I have been delighted with of late from losing Elliott Bennett at the start of the season, as well as Pilkington and Robert Snodgrass, is that we've managed to cope with it.


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'Of course it is a blow to lose Michael for the weekend. That is normal if you are a player on four bookings and with a defensive player like Michael we knew there was a chance of that happening. These are the things can happen.'

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