Premier League places up for grabs in Chris Hughton’s Norwich City

Chris Hughton has warned his Norwich City squad that no-one is guaranteed a starting spot ahead of the Premier League curtain raiser at Fulham on August 18.

City head to MK Dons tomorrow in their latest build-up game and Hughton insists league places are very much up for grabs.

The Canaries' chief revealed he is open to persuasion after using the early pre-season friendlies to assess the majority of his senior stars.

He said: 'I'm still learning about the players. I think when you go into a new club you can be learning right the way through pre-season and even the start of the season. Players form goes up and down, some players may not get the same amount of time to show what they can do. I would like to think by the end of pre-season I will be a little clearer in my own mind, which I will be, but you want players to change your mind and push for places.

'We brought the new lads in to give us competition all over the pitch and you hope as a manager that brings the best out of players. Come the start of the season I have to pick 11 players and I want that job to be a difficult one. In some ways, perhaps it would be better if it was an easier job because that means there are 11 who have forced themselves into my thinking and it almost becomes a natural choice.'

Ajax's midweek visit was the perfect barometer for the City boss to assess what is at his disposal. Anthony Pilkington fired the Canaries ahead but the Dutch champions were full value for Lasse Schone's equaliser prior to the interval.

Hughton said: 'It was a big test for us and they were stronger than the side they put out at Southampton at the weekend because we watched some of that game. They really showed their quality as you would expect from the Dutch champions. I believe they play the equivalent of their Community Shield game domestically this coming weekend so that is how close they are to their season starting.

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'We expected a test, we expected them to be very, very good on the ball. When you see them at first hand you realise how good they are and our supporters I think would have enjoyed watching Ajax. Nothing they do comes by coincidence - they train and play like that day in, day out. They have a blueprint with the options they have, how they move the ball and how hard they work without it. They press high, they are an offensive threat and I was very impressed by them.'