Hoolahan 'committed to Canaries'
Published 06/02/2014 | 16:27
Norwich manager Chris Hughton has insisted Wes Hoolahan is committed to the Canaries' cause after the wantaway winger was denied a January move.
Hoolahan had a transfer request rejected last month after Aston Villa, managed by former Carrow Road boss Paul Lambert, had a bid rebuffed by Norwich.
Hughton has spoken to the Republic of Ireland international this week, but declined to disclose the content of the conversation.
The Canaries boss was adamant, though, Hoolahan will not be leaving on loan and is in contention for Saturday's match at home to Manchester City.
"Wes will be in the squad," Hughton said.
"There is only one thing that is certain now: Wes will be here.
"Wes is very committed. We have a 14-game end-of-season run-in and he's very much there for the challenge, very much part of the squad.
"He's very motivated. He's knuckled down very well in training. He is a good player as we are all aware of and he will be fighting the same as everyone else for a place.
"He's trained very well and he's very focused."
Hoolahan has not played since the New Year's Day draw at Crystal Palace and made his wishes clear last month.
But Hughton does not anticipate a negative reaction from supporters at Carrow Road on Saturday.
"The only things I'm thinking about Wes at this particular moment are all positive," Hughton added.
"He's a very popular member here. He's done some wonderful things for this football club and we are very much looking forward to him being part of these past 14 games and giving everything he's got."
Norwich, who are 15th two points clear of the relegation zone, will be aiming to make amends for their "worst performance of the season" when City visit this weekend, having lost 7-0 at the Etihad Stadium in November.
City are looking to respond from their first home loss this season when Chelsea won on Monday after a seemingly irrepressible run of form.
"There won't be too many people that will expect us to beat Manchester City," Hughton added.
"The ones I'd like to think would think different to that is our players.
"If we've got a committed group of players that are looking to play as a team, to defend well, but also have our really good moments of offensive play, that's all that you can ask for.
"It's a really wonderful challenge for us."
Former Everton defender Joseph Yobo could make his debut against City at Carrow Road after signing on loan from Fenerbahce.
Centre back Ryan Bennett (thigh) is a major doubt and faces a fitness test, while defender Michael Turner (hamstring) and midfielder Jonny Howson (back) are continuing their rehabilitation.
Hughton vowed not to sit back against City, a team Norwich lost 4-3 to at home last season and beat at the Etihad Stadium last May.
"It's about getting the balance right," Hughton said.
"You have to be a solid enough team and you have to defend well.
"But you have to be a threat. If you're sitting back for 90 minutes there's probably only going to be one result."