Norwich City duo Steven Whittaker and Jacob Butterfield to feature in Tottenham cup-tie
Chris Hughton is finally ready to unleash fit-again Scottish international Steven Whittaker on Tottenham in tomorrow's Capital One Cup last 16 round tie at Carrow Road.
Hughton confirmed on Tuesday afternoon Whittaker and midfielder Jacob Butterfield will both feature against Spurs, with Russell Martin (back) the only injury absentee after lasting 45 minutes in the weekend Premier League draw at Aston Villa.
Martin will be assessed during the rest of this week ahead of Stoke's league visit this weekend, but Hughton delivered a positive bulletin on Whittaker who is set for his senior City debut. The defender underwent ankle ligament surgery after suffering the injury in a pre-season friendly at Celtic, but Hughton believes the Scot is now ready to make a belated appearance. Butterfield is also poised for a return to action after his own comeback from a long-term knee problem was held up when he suffered a reaction to the knee injury following his debut in the previous round's win over Doncaster.
'Yes, and it will be good to have them back and that brings real competition,' said Hughton. 'Real competition for places and experienced competition. I think Jacob, who will be involved tomorrow, would probably be the youngest involved in the group. We'll need that because we are injury-free now but we will spells during the season when we won't be. The only one who will miss the game is Russell Martin, who came off at half-time with a back problem. He is still pretty sore at the minute so he will miss the game but apart from that everyone else is fit and available.'
Hughton is downplaying the significance of City's impressive early season Premier League draw against Andre Villas-Boas' side at White Hart Lane on the eve of their cup re-match.
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'They may put out a different side to that game and they are in a slightly different place now,' said Hughton. 'They are on the back of a very good performance at Southampton and their season is going along very, very well. They have a lot of consistency and quality in the team. The fact we were able to go their, perform well and give a good account of ourselves gives us the confidence to know we can play well against the likes of Tottenham. 'It will be a completely different atmosphere tomorrow. We will have a very good crowd and we need to give them something to cheer about. We are on the back of two good performances. I felt we were always confident with the performances we had put in before that, and I know most managers would sit here and say the same thing – they feel they should have more points – but I generally feel that our performances warranted better outcomes. We have always had that confidence but it helps if you are able to beat the likes of an Arsenal at Carrow Road and on the back of that one it was a very good performance at Aston Villa and that should have been another win.'
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