Norwich City’s midfield mix can tip the balance over the Premier League run-in
11:13 21 February 2014
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Norwich City boss Chris Hughton admits having his key midfield trio back for the Premier League run-in is a major boost.
Jonny Howson has returned to light training after missing nearly two months with a back complaint to bolster a central midfield unit that had also been without Alex Tettey’s driving influence following the Norwegian’s ankle surgery. Tettey is now back in the ranks but his deployment behind Howson and Leroy Fer secured a first Premier League away win of the campaign at Stoke in September until the experiment was cut short by Tettey’s ankle injury against Cardiff.
“Alex is a big player for us,” said Hughton. “He covers so much ground for us and there are not too many frills to his game. He does things that don’t get a lot of headlines, like nicking balls and keeping possession for us.
“I am really pleased to get him back. Probably one of our better away performances this season was at Stoke when we played a three in there and he was excellent so there is no doubt we have missed him. What we have in Alex is the options that he gives us, whether starting or coming in to shore things up in the middle of the park. They are going to be vital in the last few games.”
Fer has had to shoulder much of the burden in central midfield during his debut season with the Dutch international now pushed further forward following Tettey’s return alongside Bradley Johnson.
“We have given him a little bit of a different role which allows him some more freedom and he is one of our better players on the ball,” said Hughton.
“He is still adjusting to English football. There have been some ups and downs and he hasn’t always been good but this is somebody who has only missed two (league) games. “