December 12 2013 Latest news:
Paddy Davitt, Norwich City Writer
Friday, September 27, 2013
Chris Hughton admits Norwich City’s extra-time exertions to overcome Watford is a cause for concern ahead of Sunday’s televised Premier League trip to Stoke.
The likes of two-goal striker Gary Hooper, Steven Whittaker and Martin Olsson were all struggling with cramp at various stages of the Canaries’ breathless 3-2 comeback win at Vicarage Road on Tuesday.
Hughton was delighted to progress, with City landing a last 16 date at Manchester United, but with Sebastien Bassong (hamstring) and Ricky van Wolfswinkel (toe) absent in midweek, the City boss does not want any adverse reaction.
“Gary is probably the one who actually benefitted from it because he needs games now after being out for the first part of the season,” said Hughton.
“Unless he was struggling I was always going to keep him on the field and even in that second half of extra-time I was looking at the way he was running and he seemed fine.
“I would certainly have preferred for some of the others not to have gone the distance and played 120 minutes, but on the other hand I wanted us to go through.
“We expect Ricky to be available for the weekend and with Seb we are still assessing the full extent of the injury but the initial indication is that it is not as bad as it could have been. Hopefully it won’t be too long. It is not a serious one.”
Hughton’s injury concerns at the top end of the pitch mean back-up striker Luciano Becchio will remain part of the manager’s plans for the foreseeable future despite fresh speculation he could make a loan return to old club Leeds.
Becchio and Dani Ayala were both strongly linked with moves to Championship outfit Middlesbrough earlier this month, but Hughton is not willing to leave the Canaries’ light in crucial areas of his squad.
“I don’t envisage Luciano going out at this moment. At some stage if things change then you leave yourself open to that possibility,” said Hughton.
“There are always phone calls and enquiries for your players but at this moment nothing definite.”