Norwich City have nothing to fear from a Premier League trip to the Palace
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Chris Hughton expects Norwich's new-found resolve on the road in the to undergo a severe Premier League test at Crystal Palace.
City have beaten West Brom and earned a battling point at Sunderland in recent times to restore much-needed belief, but Norwich must buck a wretched trend at Selhurst Park. The club's last league win on the Eagles' own patch came back in 1996, although recent history is all that matters to the Canaries' boss.
'We gave ourselves opportunities at both Sunderland and West Brom and we will try to do the same again,' he said. 'We will certainly go into the game with the same mindset and we know the value of three points. They have picked up of late, they are at home and they will feel it is a game they must win. Palace have probably looked at the fixtures they have got and particularly where we are in the league and they will feel this is more of a chance than Manchester City away. I've seen a fair chunk of their game from the weekend and what they did, they did very well. They were compact as a team and they broke well when they had some chances.'
Hughton's side spoiled Tony Pulis' Palace debut with a 1-0 league defeat in November's corresponding fixture at Carrow Road but the Norwich boss detects plenty of signs of progress under the Eagles' experienced manager.
'I'm sure the Palace players will be enjoying a new voice,' he said. 'He certainly hasn't changed too many of the players because he had to inherit them from the previous manager. What you do know with him is he'll have his team very well organised in how he sets them up. Those players have made themselves hard to beat and we found that at Carrow Road. Tony is used to working in this division and doing well and we know at home they will have a passionate support behind them.'
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Hughton embraces the sub-text to a New Year's Day test against one of their direct rivals, but the City boss will focus on the search for consistency in a bid to extricate the club from a prolonged survival scrap over the second part of the campaign.
'Yes, we have been inconsistent. It is my responsibility to find the answer for that,' he said. 'If you look at the table of course this is a game that affects both sides. I understand why some people will make more of it because we are playing a team around us but when you hear talk about six point games and then look at how tight things are there would be an awful lot of those. I feel the clubs coming up from the Championship now are better prepared than at any previous stage. They are coming up with good budgets to bring in players and if you look at Hull's start to the season most would feel they have acquitted themselves well. Palace have now had a very good run of late but really it all comes down to who can show the most quality.'
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