Sebastien Bassong fitness fears ahead of key Aston Villa clash
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Sebastien Bassong's fitness could provide an anxious build-up to Aston Villa's Premier League visit for Norwich boss Chris Hughton.
The former Tottenham and Newcastle defender was withdrawn four minutes from the end of normal time in the Canaries' 1-0 defeat at Stoke. Hughton suggested Bassong's early exit was a precautionary measure but with fellow centre-back Michael Turner absent with a groin injury leaving him a major doubt for Villa, Hughton knows it is imperative Bassong remains at the heart of the Norwich backline.
Bassong has had to manage a knee problem during his debut season for the club and the Cameroon international will now be assessed by Hughton's backroom staff.
'We'll see how Seb is. I think he perhaps felt there was a concern towards the end of the game but we have had that with him on a couple of previous occasions this season when he has been able to get through it,' said Hughton. 'I don't know actually what the problem was, but we will see. He's had little periods before where he has had little knocks towards the end of the game and managed to get through and I hope he'll be OK.
'From our point of view it was probably better he came off but we'll assess that one in the next few days. I think he could have continued, it was one of those, so we don't think its something too bad.'
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Hughton recalled Leon Barnett from his Cardiff loan spell with Turner ruled out of the trip to Stoke. The experienced defender was an unused substitute at the Britannia as Ryan Bennett deputised alongside Bassong following his goalscoring impact in the recent Reading win.
'I think he came in and performed very well,' said Hughton. 'He was good last week and good again here. He has that excellent movement to his game and for a young lad like him to slot into what was going to be a tough game here, a competitive game, that is why overall I was delighted.'
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England international keeper John Ruddy was again omitted from Hughton's match day squad at Stoke after playing his third consecutive development game on Friday against Manchester City's U21s. Scott Marshall's squad is in action again today at Colney against Newcastle's U21s, but Hughton indicated Ruddy will not be involved.
He said: 'No, he played in the game on Friday and our thinking was to play him in that game and just see how we feel over the weekend.'