Norwich United boss Hilton plays down importance of Thurlow Nunn Premier Division trip to Gorleston

Gorleston, green, against Norwich United, yellow, during 2012. Picture: Nick Butcher.

Gorleston, green, against Norwich United, yellow, during 2012. Picture: Nick Butcher. - Credit: Archant © 2012

Boss Damian Hilton admits it's far too early in the season to be billing Norwich United's trip to Gorleston as a top-of-the-table clash.

The Planters head to Emerald Park on the back of a fine run which has seen them take pole position in the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division.

However, despite winning six of their opening seven matches, the former Norwich City youth team striker insists he's not getting carried away by thoughts of his men mounting a title challenge.

'It's been an excellent start, not just in terms of results because we've put a good side together, but in terms of how well the lads have gelled in the first few weeks,' said Hilton, whose side won 2-0 at Ely City on Saturday.

'That's been really pleasing. There's players who have never played at this level, we knew we'd get them working together, yet the results have been favourable. It's been a good start. But that's all it is at this stage.'

Norwich's only defeat in the league so far was against the Greens earlier this season. But Hilton's heroes have remained a force on the road, picking up three wins in as many matches. And the Planters' chief believes that's because his team has all the hallmarks of a good away side.

He said: 'We have done quite well away from home. When we're away we've got some pace in the side and that helps with counter attacking.

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'The start, on the road, has been fantastic and at Ely on Saturday it was always going to be a battle. And we've got lads who can do that, and then a few lads who can score goals, which works as a good combination.

'The only game we have lost is 2-1 at home to Gorleston and they were regarded as pre-season – and for me still are – title favourites. Although we lost that day we were competive and played very against them. If we would have had a bit more luck we maybe would have got a result.'

Stewart Larter's Greens sit four points behind United in fourth, having played a game less, and have started their campaign in equally impressive form.

In fact, they remain unbeaten in Premier Division action and suffered their first reverse in 2013/14 during Saturday's FA Cup first qualifying round defeat at Spalding United.

Hilton doesn't think that 1-0 loss, which brought to an end Gorleston's nine-game unbeaten start to the term in all competitions, will do the east coast side any harm in the long run.

United's boss said: 'The FA Cup for clubs like ourselves is great while you're in it. But Stu, after the weekend, has probably thought it's not a big deal for them to be out of it.

'It can be a bit of a hindrance for teams who are hoping to win the title, which the early signs suggest they will be looking to do, and now they can focus fully on that.

'They will be looking to bounce back but for us, it's still too early to worry about having lost to them in August. We're taking one game at a time. I wouldn't say we're after revenge because they're the only side who have taken points off us, but some of our lads will probably feel aggrieved that we didn't get something out of the game. Hopefully they'll want to sort that out tonight. But we're under no illusions as to how hard it's going to be. Gorleston are a very good team and it's a very difficult place to go to and get points.

'It's a tough game for us. We'll need to have to play well and get a bit of luck as I can't really remember the last time Gorleston lost a game before Saturday, let alone two on the bounce.'

Brave Gavin Lemmon is likely to skipper United again after playing at the weekend despite the death of his popular father, and Norwich City maintenance manager Trevor, earlier in the week.

Hilton said: 'He showed a lot of character to play. We said it was up to him and he said his dad would have wanted him to. It was an emotional day and he put in a true skipper's display. He was outstanding.'