Norwich City boss Chris Hughton is spoilt for choice

Norwich City's club record signing Ricky van Wolfswinkel is back in fold for the festive period after a muscular toe injury. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd Norwich City's club record signing Ricky van Wolfswinkel is back in fold for the festive period after a muscular toe injury. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Tuesday, December 17, 2013
8:15 AM

Chris Hughton will positively relish his striking dilemma with Ricky van Wolfswinkel fit to return ahead of Norwich City’s festive spell.

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Hughton has had to manage a midfield injury crisis in recent weeks but the Canaries’ boss is spoilt for choice in forward areas with van Wolfswinkel back in the fold after missing eight games with a muscular toe injury.

The Dutchman was kept in reserve for Swansea’s weekend visit but with Gary Hooper in hot scoring form and the likes of Johan Elmander and Luciano Becchio also in the mix Hughton faces a new set of selection problems for the trip to Sunderland.

“I’d love to play three strikers but that is not possible,” he said. “These are the issues you would always want as a manager. I look on that as a nice problem. Ricky will have a good week’s training with us now and we hope he will come into contention for Sunderland and the festive games. It was touch and go whether we used him against Swansea; we decided to look at the bigger picture. You look at someone like Gary now who is fit and scoring and you want strikers to take their opportunities.

“It was unfortunate for Ricky to get injured when he did. It can take different individuals longer to get a rhythm and a feel for the league but I have no doubt he will be a welcome addition when he does come back in.”

City host struggling Fulham on Boxing Day after a Wearside test and Hughton knows it is imperative to pick up points from direct rivals.

“We’re in a good run at the moment, albeit we have had bad results mixed in,” he said. “It goes without saying there is a group of teams you expect to be in that top seven or eight and a bigger group who fall outside that who can all beat each other. I see that continuing through the season.

“People regularly ask me about the fixtures and what they perceive to be a tougher or easier run. I always look at the next one in front of me. You only have to look at some of the results in this division and if you were a betting man there are so many results that have gone against the odds. If you can get results from those around you it denies them points.

“Ironically last season we were very good against the top 10 and right now the pendulum has swung a bit which is why I was disappointed not to get the win (against Swansea), because we know what that would have meant in terms of the league table.”

27 comments

  • If he insists on just one striker, surely Hughton must stick with Hooper for now?

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    el dingo

    Tuesday, December 17, 2013

  • RVW will prove to be an expensive waste of money.He does not have the ability to bridge the gap between the League where he was scoring freely and the Premier League.

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    irongloves

    Tuesday, December 17, 2013

  • Melbourne, AVB had at his disposal a squad with 19 players valued at £7m and over. CH has one...

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    Pierre

    Tuesday, December 17, 2013

  • Hooper would be first name on the team sheet for me at the moment.. but im sure CH is planning ways to bring in the Wolf without disrupting the little bit of momentum we are building. OTBC

    Report this comment

    GossVolley

    Tuesday, December 17, 2013

  • Prior to RVW injury Hughton was only too pleased to pick him and leave Hooper on the bench. I think the tables are turned now with a Hooper proving himself with performances and goals. RVW has still a long way to go. It will be interesting to see the next team selection - Hughton still makes illogical team selections with the team and positioning.

    Report this comment

    VictorM

    Tuesday, December 17, 2013

  • People are mad! lol. People talk asif RVW is worthless now, just like the same people said Hooper was back up to RVW come rain of shine. Its called form people. Dont disgard someone just because there not flavour of the month. RVW has extreme quality, just like Hooper. RVW was playing regularly when lets be honest....we were playing complete rubbish. Struggling to create a chance for a striker. Hooper struggled just like RVW to begin with as we simply were not creating. In the last few matches were actually managed to create chances a predator requires and heaven forbid....the striker has scored! RVW would to in Hoopers place. Make chances and quality like RVW and Hooper will score, whether there on there own or together. Seeing comments like "RVW will be back up to Hooper and come on late" is utterly insane. In 3 games time RVW could have scored 100 goals in 2 minutes and you'll all be singing his praises and suggesting Hooper go on loan to Walsall. Calm down people and enjoy the ride. Enjoy the fact were actually creating chances for the quality strikers we've got and dont right the ones out of favour (or injured) off! Just remember what an awful spell of form we were in when RVW was starting up top. Didnt actually do anything wrong! just didnt get any service....literally 0%!

    Report this comment

    Mattias333

    Tuesday, December 17, 2013

  • Hey Melbourne........whats the weather like in Yarmouth today?

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    Mellow_Yellow

    Tuesday, December 17, 2013

  • We havent seen enough of RvW to know whether or not he can pay the target man with Hooper feeding off him. On song, this pairing could terrify defences.....if compatible as a pair!!

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    Algarve Canary

    Tuesday, December 17, 2013

  • RVW needs to work on this match fitness with 15-20 mins from the bench for a few games before being considered for a start. Maybe a start against Fulham in the cup?

    Report this comment

    kevin

    Tuesday, December 17, 2013

  • Villas Boas gone. Lost 5-0 to Liverpool. Spurs don't stuff around with apologists.. Just a Norwich speciality. Oh only 5-1 for Norwich against Liverpool. Maybe next week?

    Report this comment

    Melbourne

    Tuesday, December 17, 2013

  • Spoilt for choice in forward areas? I didn't think he liked his players going to the forward areas, bit adventurous that.

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    Gruff

    Tuesday, December 17, 2013

  • think people are getting a little bit carried away over Elmander,he chested the ball down for hooper,something he does in training every day,he runs around alot,albeit not very quick,wins two headers which for someone his size you would expect and people are saying how well hes playing!Surely ncfc should be looking for better quality players and goal scorers come january if they have any ambition!

    Report this comment

    tonyb

    Tuesday, December 17, 2013

  • With the 128 formation!!! Christmas time Ho Ho Ho

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    Melbourne

    Tuesday, December 17, 2013

  • Helpful that the Bush Telegraph is now sending signals to our competitors that Hooper is a threat. Will do us no harm at all. Seasonal blessings to Laudrup for reinforcing that message...

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    Pierre

    Tuesday, December 17, 2013

  • RVW needs to work on this match fitness with 15-20 mins from the bench for a few games before being considered for a start. Maybe a start against Fulham in the cup?

    Report this comment

    kevin

    Tuesday, December 17, 2013

  • Whats Elmander then? Scotch mist? A lot of people must have had defective streams or selective vision because he worked hard Sunday and his chest down for the goal was superb.

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    ncfc boy

    Tuesday, December 17, 2013

  • I am sure that both Hooper (who is starting to hit a rich run of form and score goals) and RVW have much to offer in the 20+ fixtures to come this season. I know some people have been wrestless but what is being developed is a long term plan to consolidate a position in the top flight. For sure NCFC will "come good" this season and will strengthen again over the summer. Things have not always gone our way so far, but, we are still in a respectable poistion in 14th and another win could put us 10th. OTBC

    Report this comment

    Dubai Canary

    Tuesday, December 17, 2013

  • Melbourne - brace yourself and prepare for Christmas. You are going to be visited by the most boring and irritating sports fans in the World. England cricket's 'barmy army'. See men in their 40's and 50's behaving like schoolchildren.

    Report this comment

    Steely Dan

    Tuesday, December 17, 2013

  • A dilemma for Hughton but what a positive one to have! Mind you he should certainly stick with Hooper in my opinion. The lad has found his scoring boots and puts himself about. Its now all up to RVW to prove himself.

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    Mellow_Yellow

    Tuesday, December 17, 2013

  • @ Melbourne. Thankfully we have a CEO and a board who have a bit more patience - unlike yourself. I attend the home games and have seen green shoots of improvement in the last 2. Hopefully, over the next few games, I expect RvW to be at least on the bench on Saturday and Snoddy may play a 'bit part' as well.

    Report this comment

    Mr Ed

    Tuesday, December 17, 2013

  • el dingo, yeah he will stick. Then I think Ricky will come on to replace Elmander or Hooper if tired occasionally, and then hopefully make himself undroppable. I think he's pretty good in the air, and is certainly a good link-up player and likes to get stuck in so he could certainly play well with Hooper. He might lack the nous and experience Elmander brings though, like Holty did. I think Elmander has improved lots and deserves his place at the moment though. He's a strange player, certainly not a striker, more of a "problem" for the opposition.

    Report this comment

    MancCanary

    Tuesday, December 17, 2013

  • They are already here Steels. Don't know why but maybe Hoots could take over from Flower!!

    Report this comment

    Melbourne

    Wednesday, December 18, 2013

  • I'm being ethered Steely, so unfair, its like having your appendages removed, and they don't even return them to you wrapped up as a Christmas present

    Report this comment

    Bill Punton's bald patch

    Wednesday, December 18, 2013

  • I agree that RVW has not been given anything but scraps in the games he's played in and therefore it's much too early to judge him. The good news is that both RVW and Hooper look like clinical finishers and for a team that doesn't generate masses of chances that's got to be useful. I'd like to see RVW and Hooper together in the home games against the teams outside the top 5. Not sure Elmander does much more than occupy defenders which any half decent forward can do. I certainly wouldn't be creaming myself over the chest down at the weekend. Any one of you reading this could have done that. Not many could have finished it.

    Report this comment

    Juggmeister

    Tuesday, December 17, 2013

  • Congrats NCFC girl. That's the first time I've ever seen the words "Elmander" + "superb" in the same sentence....We'll just forget about the last 5 games when he played cr*p eh...?

    Report this comment

    Timbo

    Tuesday, December 17, 2013

  • Spot on, Hooper and Elmander played well together on Sunday, not for the first time either so I would expect them to start together at Sunderland. Who plays left wing in more of a concern. I expect RVW to either sit on the bench the whole game or come on fot 20 minutes or so towards the end. I would prefer to see him with Hooper rather than instead but that is not knocking Elmander as I think he played well on Sunday.

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    TrevorKeith

    Tuesday, December 17, 2013

  • A bit carried away indeed Tonyb, I like the succinct way in which you make your points. While I am pleased to see Elmander improving, there does remain something a little pedestrian about him. Were we to sign someone of similar skill to the rapidly improving Hooper, I think that might put pressure on RVW to do just that bit more. At the moment, he remains his father's favourite son, and he would be embarrassed to drop him seeing as all the organ stops had to be pulled out to get him in the first place. So, Becchio and possibly Elmander in the shop window. Daniel Levy seems to be a bit upset at the moment, and looked as though he may have been whacked in the face with a frying pan at the weekend, I'm not sure that he smiled once during that fateful game. I wonder perhaps if he might want to get rid of some of his expensive toys and its not too difficult to get from North London to Norwich. Nothing too fancy mind, we can't spend more than, er , six million [final offer] I'm sorry, its very late, and I'm living in la la land, five mill tops, and no pre Maddona's like Berbatov please

    Report this comment

    Bill Punton's bald patch

    Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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