Paddy Davitt, Norwich City Writer
Thursday, January 9, 2014
Wes Hoolahan will be in Chris Hughton’s Norwich City squad for the Premier League trip to Everton – but the Canaries’ chief refused to be drawn on whether the Irishman wants to leave Carrow Road.
Hoolahan has been heavily linked with a switch to Paul Lambert’s Aston Villa, which prompted City’s chief executive David McNally to issue a statement on Wednesday reiterating the club had not received any transfer requests from any members of their squad.
Hughton underlined on Thursday lunchtime at Colney conversations on the Dubliner’s future will take place behind closed doors, but the 31-year-old is fit and available for selection for the trip to Goodison Park.
“Wes is here, he is training and he is fit so he is very much in my thoughts for Everton,” said Hughton. “I have been fairly consistent in the way we deal with things here at this football club. What will always happen is there will be enquiries for our players and we will make enquiries for other players. That is normal. The correct way for us is that they remain private conversations between the clubs. When there is, at any stage, anything to say about anybody, whether that is our player or not, we will make the announcement at the appropriate time.
“Wes is a player who first and foremost is under contract. Apart from the recent cup game he had played in the last two games. He is as important as every other player in this squad. What we are trying to achieve here is build the best squad we can to get us as high up the league as we can and to do that we know to keep hold of our good players and Wes is very much part of the squad at the moment.”
Hughton insisted he had not held talks with the midfielder since reports of Villa’s interest surfaced on the eve of last weekend’s FA Cup tie.
“No, I haven’t had to speak to him. We know in football there is always speculation,” he said. “Players are under contract and they must give their best at training and in games. If we spoke to every player who was linked to a club then we would have to have a lot of conversations. We expect players contracted to this club to act professionally.
“This week is about Wes, next week could be somebody else and somebody else the following week. We are consistent in what we say. Any conversations of that nature are private. Players under contract must know their responsibility is with their club. If that changes we will make you aware of that.”
Hoolahan, Bradley Johnson and Sebastien Bassong are all back in contention for the Toffees’ trip after missing the FA Cup 1-1 third round home draw against Fulham. Michael Turner (hamstring) and Jonny Howson (back) again miss out. Hughton also confirmed Alex Tettey and Anthony Pilkington have returned to light training in recent days and could be pushing for involvement ahead of Hull’s league visit to Carrow Road later this month.