March 9 2014 Latest news:
Paddy Davitt, Norwich City Writer
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Chris Hughton is confident Gary Hooper will prove he belongs in Premier League company this coming season ahead of a match-up with Liverpool’s prolific hitman Luis Suarez.
Hooper moved south from Celtic to test himself against the best and Hughton admitted they do not come any better than Suarez, who City must try and subdue in Wednesday’s Anfield league test. Hooper’s second top-flight goal sunk Crystal Palace at the weekend after an injury-hit start to his Norwich career.
“He came here to prove he could score goals in the Premier League,” said Hughton. “I felt for him at the beginning because some strikers hit the ground running and it comes naturally and others take a while to adjust and you can see that across the league, but to miss the first four weeks when you join a new club is so difficult. I’ve been impressed by his work outside the box. He has what I regard as classic centre forward movement. When you get the ball into good positions you can tell he is someone used to playing up top and scoring goals. I read one of Gary’s quotes after the game when he said at Premier League level you get less chances and no disrespect to Celtic but in that league he would be used to getting numerous chances.
“It is tougher here and you have to try and make sure your percentages are higher. He is now in the team and having a run of games and getting fit and stronger. We need to make sure that we provide him with opportunities to score goals like we did on Saturday.”
Suarez plundered four in both Premier League games against the Canaries last season but Hughton insists the Reds’ carry multiple attacking threats.
“He is as good as any top striker in the country at the moment and on his day he is difficult to handle,” he said. “He is a huge threat because he is an outstanding footballer. It is not a coincidence he has scored so many goals. He is a threat from first minute to the last minute, but it’s not only Norwich who have been on the end of that, he has scored goals against everybody. They have other good offensive options with (Jordan) Henderson who breaks from midfield and (Phillippe) Coutinho and (Victor) Moses.”
Hughton confirmed at Colney yesterday he has no fresh injury concerns ahead of the trips to Liverpool and West Brom this week.
“That is a plus for us,” he said. “We don’t need any more injuries because in certain positions we are quite stretched. We need to make sure over this heavy period we don’t get any more. I have decisions to make with three games in such a short period. You look at someone like Wes (Hoolahan) and it was his first game for a while. I chose to leave Michael (Turner) out because he had missed a few days training and he was on four bookings. The time in between the games is more about recovery and a bit of training for the ones who didn’t play. This week is not going to be about physical training but the preparation.”