Norwich City midfielder David Fox makes his point to Chris Hughton

Norwich City midfielder David Fox made an eye-catching return in the FA Cup third round tie against Fulham. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd Norwich City midfielder David Fox made an eye-catching return in the FA Cup third round tie against Fulham. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Monday, January 6, 2014
8:04 AM

David Fox’s midfield masterclass was a testament to his professionalism, insisted Norwich City boss Chris Hughton.

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The 30-year-old’s last start for Hughton came in a sour FA Cup fourth round exit to Luton which signalled a prolonged period in the wilderness for the cultured playmaker. Fox was deemed surplus to requirements this season and joined Championship strugglers Barnsley on a three month loan, but Norwich’s desperate injury plight prompted his return to the first-team fold. Fox’s calming presence in central midfield against the Cottagers helped City dominate territory and possession for long spells, with Josh Murphy in particular benefiting from his regular supply. Hughton stopped short of conceding Fox had played his way back into his Premier League plans. but the 30-year-old’s stock appeared to have certainly risen.

“I will have to fully go through the game again and assess things but I am delighted for David because it has been a tough time for him in his career,” said Hughton. “He hasn’t played the games he would like under me. He went to Barnsley and had a short illness when he was there which meant he didn’t play for the last five or six games and couldn’t get himself back in so to be put straight in and give us 90 minutes here was a tough ask. I think he was flagging a little bit towards the end but I was really pleased for him. He is here and he is back now and it has been an unfortunate time for him.

“I thought we gave everything to win the game. We had to make wholesale changes with the injuries we have. David played his first game in six weeks, Javier Garrido played his first game in midfield for us and I think the first of his career and young Josh (Murphy) was making his first start.”

Murphy capped a vibrant first senior start for the club with a cut-back despatched by Robert Snodgrass to cancel out Darren Bent’s sloppy opener.

“We had to manoeuvre the team around a fair bit and taking that all into consideration I felt we were worthy of the win if you look at our work in the final third and the amount of balls into the box,” said Hughton. “I thought particularly on that left-hand side we got a lot of crosses into the box. On the balance of play we deserved it. We conceded a poor goal. It is there for all to see. It was a fairly hopeful ball into our box and there is no doubt we should have dealt with it better.

“It was a goal out of nothing. We showed spirit to come back and we scored at the right time because we didn’t deserve to be behind at half-time.”

Norwich must now prepare for an FA Cup replay next week just four days before Hull’s crunch Premier League visit.

“Probably with the injuries we have it is the worst possible result and the same for Rene (Meulensteen) because neither of us needed a replay,” said Hughton.

16 comments

  • Some excellent posts here, however it is difficult to really judge Saturdays performance as Fulham also had their reserve side out on the park. The centre back who kept RVW quiet for most of the game was 21 year old Dan Burn who cost them a mere £350k for example and that was his debute. That is not to take anything away from the performance put in by David Fox and he is probably our best passer of the ball much in the vein of Ian Crook of old. I would never want to see Fox, Hoolahan and Howson all in the team together as we would then be too weak in the ball winning contest, however, I was surprised to see one or two excellent challenges by Fox on Saturday. Given our current injury crisis in midfield, perhaps the Everton game is one for him to be given his chance to prove his worth.

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    TrevorKeith

    Monday, January 6, 2014

  • Spot on. Exactly the point ive been trying to make ever since Hughton arrival. Without a Fox type player we have no link between defence and midfield. Usually we see the back four pass between them and then when a tiny bit of pressure is applied they go for a long punt up field to our imaginary target man or try a hollywood ball to a winger that goes out of play. The odd time we managed to find the DMC (often been Bradley Johnson), were missing the technical attributes to find our own player or open them up. Leroy Fer is a quality player. Whether hes being a grumpy so & so or not. Howson has improved alot since last season but I wouldnt go overboard on him. With Players like fox & wes seemingly facing the exit door its a worrying time as we transform totally into a muscle, lump it forward side. Sad times. My only hope is if Hughton is dead set on playing this horrific style he goes and signs a player capable of player the target man role and playing upfront on his own. At Newcastle & Birmingham he already had those types in his squads but at NCFC hes signed the kind of players who would flourish at other sides in Hooper & RVW but not actually what he needs to suit his style of play.

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    Mattias333

    Monday, January 6, 2014

  • Agree totally with these comments.Fox has been treated very harshly and should have been given more of a chance,Becchio also.

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    tonyb

    Monday, January 6, 2014

  • I think Fox is wasting his time at Norwich. Hughton made up his mind over a year ago about Fox and he doesn't want him - and nobody expects him to admit he got it wrong. I'm afraid Fox is in the same category as Holt and Hoolihan - ex Lambert men and isolated by this current regime. What a waste of decent footballers and City are paying the price.

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    VictorM

    Monday, January 6, 2014

  • I've always been a David Fox fan. So im extremely biast. BUT.....if we ever had the dream situation of a fully fit squad I dont know if even i'd be able to fit him in. Im in the camp that prefers there sides to play real football. Clearly me & Mr Hughton are never going to agree on footballing styles. He prefers an extremely defensive approach resulting in often lumped balls up top to someone who isnt a target man. I prefer a fluid passing game creating chances. I've said it a million times that Fox is one of the few players who looks to pick the ball up from the back four and then look for a pass. Often our back line panic into hoofs that immediately lose us the ball, but this is because a player like Fox isnt in the team demanding the ball off the back line. Fox came in and played in his usual style, collecting the ball from the centre backs and then delivering it someone else in the team who can cause damage such as Redmond, Snodgrass etc. People moan Fox does not get stuck in but Saturday he made two fantastic sliding tackles that many others would have backed out of. While I know in the long run Fox isnt the best player in our squad, a player of his sorts is missed massively when linking our defence to midfield. Fox gave the ball away once on saturday in the 60th minute. All to often when the ball is at Bradley Johnsons feet etc we lose the ball immediately. Its little things like this that all add up to the problems were suffering. Keep the ball, there's no rush (despite some runs demanding a goal the minute we have the ball), pick the right pass rather than rushing. So frustrating watching NCFC on a average week under Hughton as we give the ball away a crazy amount of times, an often without there actually being any pressure on us. Fox without a doubt is never going to be a 'Hughton Guy'. Hes lost in a world dominated by muscle men who maybe lack the technical ability Fox does but our ultimately prefered by the man that matters, the manager. Honestly dont even know what my preferred starting 11 would be should we have everyone fit, but one thing I know is Fox is worthy of a place at this club, whether its starting, sub or back up for when injuries occur (like they have). Hoolahan too but thats another debate for another day.

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    Mattias333

    Monday, January 6, 2014

  • Andrea Pirlo is the proof that a deep-lying midfielder can be the source of so much constructive football. He makes the ball do the work.

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    TiminCarlisle

    Monday, January 6, 2014

  • Ps. I know Snodgrass plays on the wing before anyone starts. Just fancied a pop at someone who fox is better than. He came to mind

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    bonesy

    Monday, January 6, 2014

  • we must go to the same games jigs! completely agree.

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    bonesy

    Monday, January 6, 2014

  • CH praises the amount of crosses into the box for the forwards to feed upon, i am wondering if this because the wide players were actually on their favoured foot for crossing rather than having to do the usual cutting inside to be able to use their "kicking" foot!

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    DaveG

    Monday, January 6, 2014

  • massive David fox fan and I'd love to think he would now appear more, however sadly i don't think this will happen as hughton prefers a useless lump like elmander than the creative brilliance of fox and hoolahan. I'm obviously missing something with Snodgrass , if he can get in the team in front of fox then there is something wrong In this world

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    bonesy

    Monday, January 6, 2014

  • After the Fulham game and Fox's MOTM performance Hughton was forced through gritted teeth to praise Fox but he still couldn't resist a little dig repeatedly saying "he hasnt played in 5 weeks or so". Fox clearly isn't a Hughton guy and never will be no matter how well he plays. I remember me and the lads rushing away from the Spurs away game 5 minutes early (only time ive ever left a game early) as we were so disgusted with the gutless display and wanted to arrive back in Norwich in time for the Leon McKenzie boxing match. We made it back in record time as we just caught the train that most NCFC fans would've missed and we were stunned when we got to the boxing to see David Fox standing there with Adam Drury and Darren Huckerby. He hadn't even been included in the match day party, not even one of the 2 extras that dont even get on the bench. He seemed really down in the dumps when we spoke to him but so humble and not even remotely big time charlie. Hucks & Drury kept trying to make a joke out of the situation but you could tell he wasn't happy and I wouldn't be to. Must be horrid knowing no matter how hard you try or how well you play the manager wont care. Poor management and stubborn from Hughton im sorry to say. Just more reasons why he isnt right to lead this club onwards. We've gone backwards the last 12 months and showing no signs of moving forward.

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    Mattias333

    Tuesday, January 7, 2014

  • So true Timin!!! Thing is Hughton would likely disgard Pirlo! Hughton is very much in the party that believes the midfield needs to be packed with muscle men rather than ball players. You need a blend of both. If you can find a player who can do both your very lucky but its not hard to mix and match the midfield. Especially with the likes of Fer who is more than capable of doing the muscle job as well as being technically gifted. This should allow places for our ball playing midfielders. Michael Carrick is a better version of David Fox. Always looking to recieve the ball from the back 4 and get the team playing. Rather than hoofing to the target man.

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    Mattias333

    Monday, January 6, 2014

  • Always thought we played better with him in the team, voted for him for player of the season, so much did I want him to know people rated him, quite a few others did the same if I remember. Exciting times... Gives you a clue about Hughton himself, "It's been a tough time under me, afterwards he got a short illness, it has been an unfortunate time for him".

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    Gruff

    Monday, January 6, 2014

  • Top of my list for a January clearout would be Johnson and Snodgrass.

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    jigs69

    Monday, January 6, 2014

  • NCFC has been weak at feeding the wingersstrikers. Fox has demonstrated this. Either CH uses him or has to buy someone to do this, because his current players cannot sit comfortably on the ball and distribute reliably...

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    Surrey Canary

    Monday, January 6, 2014

  • Pleased to see Fox played well. Does anyone remember the last time he was given a chance. Awful OTBC

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    sharky

    Monday, January 6, 2014

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

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