Norwich City captain Seb Bassong backed to return even stronger after West Ham snub
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Seb Bassong will be back better than ever, predicts Chris Hughton after pulling his team captain out of the firing line against West Ham.
Ryan Bennett was preferred to the powerful centre-back, who has struggled to replicate the consistent form that saw him crowned player of the year in his debut campaign after an injury-wrecked pre-season.
'Yes, it is always a big decision to leave a player out, but I just felt after the last few games I wanted to change things and certainly Ryan has been one who has been pushing and pushing hard,' said Hughton. 'He played very well at Stoke, but Seb is a fine player and I think where he perhaps has found it difficult is he missed the whole of pre-season and he has found it hard to get that consistency. He will do, though, and he'll be pushing as hard as he can to get into the team. Sometimes you can just change things to improve the mentality of the team and I felt after the Manchester City game we needed to do that.'
Robert Snodgrass, by his own admission, had suffered the same challenges as Bassong in recent weeks but produced a superb free-kick to nudge Norwich in front after Gary Hooper had opened his Premier League goal account.
'I was delighted for Robert,' said Hughton. 'His form has been a little bit up and down this season but I think we have seen signs in the last few weeks that his level of consistency on his set plays is coming back. He is somebody who always works for the team and I can guarantee you 10 or 15 minutes from the end he will be working just as hard as at the start. That is Robert at his best and we hope to see more of it. I was pleased for him, but more importantly pleased for the team.
'With Gary it has been tough for him. He got injured at the worst possible time just a week before the season started and that kept him out for a four-week period. We know the qualities that he has got. We see his finishing ability in training and there was no question when we got the penalty who was going to take it and where it was going.'