Norwich City boss Chris Hughton urges James Vaughan to build on brace
Chris Hughton has urged James Vaughan to build on his two-goal salvo in Norwich's opening pre-season 3-2 friendly defeat to Hertha Berlin in Austria.
Vaughan's first Premier League campaign at the club following his move from Everton was wrecked by a succession of injuries which started with a long term knee problem picked up on the tour of Germany 12 months ago.
The 24-year-old looked razor-sharp during a 45 minute cameo in Gleisdorf typified by two trademark penalty box finishes. Vaughan was joined on the pitch by Dani Ayala and Marc Tierney – two more team mates who finished last season on the sidelines – and Hughton believes these next few weeks are critical for the trio to try and make up for lost time.
Steve Morison (ankle) and David Fox (leg) were absentees from the club's opening pre-season test, but Hughton expects both to be back in the fold within the next week as City step up their Premier League preparations ahead of a trip to Celtic tomorrow night.
He said: 'We are okay (with injuries). At this moment we will look to take the same squad to Celtic on Tuesday. David Fox will not be available, I think, but we're hoping that Steve will be. With David he felt something over the summer. It's only a little problem, a slight thing, but it has set him back a touch and we're hoping that he'll train at some stage towards the end of next week. It's always a blow when you have got a player who misses this stage of pre-season because it is a valuable time and you are always playing catch up. So that is a blow.
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'On the flip side, James is looking quite sharp and we needed that in the second half period.
'He capitalised on the fact we had put out a side after the break who were fresher. He has had a difficult period recently with injury but pre-season is not just important for him but for everybody. For the lads who ended last season injured of course this is a key period for them but its about sustaining the fitness levels for every individual in the squad.'
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Hughton is looking for more of the same when they head north of the border after losing an entertaining tussle with the Germans.
He said: 'We need to take this on now for the Celtic game and approach that in the same vein. Of course it is disappointing to lose a game of football but I would rather lose them at this stage of the pre-season than later on.
'I think probably the advantage we had in the second half was that we put an 11 out there who had watched the first half and were a touch fresher than the opposition. They were brighter than us in that first half period when I think they scored two goals from three efforts. That was the difference in that little bit of sharpness and being clinical in front of goal. We had opportunities and we got back into the game, but overall it was probably a fair result.'