Paddy Davitt, Norwich City Writer
Monday, September 30, 2013
Gary Hooper’s omission against Stoke proved Chris Hughton’s biggest selection dilemma.
The Norwich boss readily admitted Hooper’s match-winning brace in the Capital One Cup win over Watford had offered a compelling case for inclusion, before he opted to retain Ricky van Wolfswinkel up front after the Dutchman overcame a toe injury.
“Yes, Gary was very much in my thoughts,” said Hughton. “I really had to give that one some serious consideration because I wanted to be positive, in whichever way it was we set up. In the end I felt we could get more joy from having a bit more possession and breaking from midfield, and that is how it proved.
“We know Ricky is a goalscorer but sometimes it takes time. He is the type of player who needs help from his team mates to create chances. What you can’t fault with him is his work-rate for the team. We have to give him enough decent service to score goals, but the other side of his game and his work for the team is excellent.”
City’s club-record signing was quick to remove his right boot in the process of being substituted in the closing stages by Johan Elmander, but Hughton allayed fears van Wolfswinkel may have suffered a recurrence of his toe injury.
Nathan Redmond (thigh) and Javier Garrido (thigh) are also both expected to be in contention for Chelsea’s upcoming visit, whilst Hughton confirmed Sebastien Bassong (hamstring) may be fit to feature against the Blues.
“Seb wasn’t close for this one in the end,” said Hughton. “We’re hopeful for the next game and that goes for the other two lads. They just have minor knocks. Nathan, after his exploits at Watford, just felt his thigh slightly at training on Saturday and Garrido came off at half-time in the same game with his groin but we’re hopeful they will be okay for next weekend. They are all very, very short term injuries.”