Luton Town boss Paul Buckle big admirer of Norwich City manager Chris Hughton
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Luton Town boss Paul Buckle knows he has to find a way past his mentor Chris Hughton to try and cause an FA Cup fourth round shock at Carrow Road this weekend.
Buckle’s long association with the Norwich City manager dates back to their playing days together at Brentford in the early 1990s.
The Hatters’ chief still keeps in regular contact and knows that Hughton will be taking his Conference promotion hopefuls seriously.
“He is a top person and a real good friend,” he said. “We were in the Championship at the time with Brentford and that was a big thing for us and the manager signed Chris to bring invaluable experience. I used to drive in with him to training and games. He is an absolute gentleman. He has helped me throughout my career. I am a bit of a novice in management because I have only been in it six seasons and he has always picked the phone up to me and always helped me.
“Chris had a wealth of experience as a player and he has done brilliantly as a manager. I can tell you now, you have the real deal at Norwich because he ticks all the boxes. He is someone I can learn off and he has never changed. Right from when I first met him at Brentford, he has the same core values.”
The former Torquay and Bristol Rovers manager is convinced City’s hierarchy produced a masterstroke when they targeted Hughton as Paul Lambert’s replacement during the close season.
“I think Norwich is a fantastic football club with a top manager and a top coach in Paul Trollope. I know both of them personally and Norwich is in very, very good hands,” he said.
“The club has done fantastically well to be in the Premier League. They had a manager leave, but they did ever so well to appoint the right replacement.
“It is never easy for the next man coming in. When a manager moves on it is sometimes difficult to go and identify the right person to work with the players already there.
“Chris is a good manager and a good person. I think if you play as long as Chris did and at the top level, and like he did internationally, then it goes without saying you can manage yourself.
“Football is about professional players, you have a manager of course, but you should be able to manage yourself. Chris did that throughout his career so it was no surprise to me he went into management and that he has been successful.”
Buckle’s underdogs have already claimed the scalp of Championship outfit Wolverhampton Wanderers in the previous round, but the Luton manager sounded an early note of caution following Bradford City’s stirring midweek Capital One Cup exploits.
“There is a realism to this. They did superbly well and huge congratulations to them but at the same time I know it is a thin line,” he said.
“When you look at the possession stats it was 75pc to 25pc and probably nine times out of 10, and I say this with no disrespect to Bradford, Aston Villa would have won that semi-final. They beat them on the night, but just couldn’t do it on aggregate.
“It can be done. Everyone knows in football when two teams go on the pitch anything can happen which is why the FA Cup has thrown up these surprises over the years and lower teams can beat bigger teams.
But at 3pm on Saturday when I see the pace of the Premier League players and that stadium there will be that realism.
“It is going to be such a huge occasion for our players. The adrenaline will be pumping away and we’ll run all day. We’ll have a good support there and we are really looking forward to it.”
All general seats have been sold for the game but some hospitality pacakages, priced £50, remain.