Monday 20 October 2014

Hughton: We want to make progress

Published 01/08/2013 | 16:23

Chris Hughton says Norwich are looking to improve, but they will first and foremost be targeting Premier League survival

Norwich manager Chris Hughton is eager for progress to be made at Carrow Road in the forthcoming Barclays Premier League, but admits staying in the top flight is the over-riding objective.

Hughton has made seven signings so far this summer, including £8.5million striker Ricky van Wolfswinkel from Sporting Lisbon and Gary Hooper from Celtic, but believes expectation should remain in check despite 12th and 11th-placed finishes in the last two seasons.

"We're still a club that's developing," Hughton said.

"This will be our third season back in the Premier League. We've had two very good seasons in this division, but this season - irrespective of what we've brought in - will start just as hard as last season started.

"It's still making sure we start next season's Premier League in the division - that's always the objective - but we want to make progress."

Norwich play Braga in a pre-season friendly on Friday in a match which sees Van Wolfswinkel return to Portugal, where he scored freely for Sporting.

The Dutchman is still to get off the mark for the Canaries, but an expectant public saw flashes of his ability during an open training session at Carrow Road on Thursday and will hope he can hit the ground running in the Premier League at home to Everton on August 17.

"He's a player that's always scored goals, but this is the toughest league to do it in," Hughton said.

"It's been tough for him in pre-season so far. We've had some tough games.

"It's a great challenge for him. That's the reason why we brought him in.

"His character can handle it and it's up to him to make sure that he's putting himself in the right positions and the right frame of mind to give himself an opportunity.

"He's certainly one that will get himself into the box, he is one who likes to run in beyond. But we've got to give him opportunities as well."

Hughton will hope to convert the draws of last season - there were 14 for the Canaries - into wins and much of the expectation for that will land on the new-look strike force.

Hughton has not ruled out making further signings before the close of the transfer window on September 2, but feels his squad is close to completion.

Asked if he will be making more signings, Hughton said: "Only if it's right. As regards numbers, we're probably about the same numbers (as last season).

"We'll go right through to the end of the window. If there are opportunities to improve and they're right for us, then we'll endeavour to do so.

"At the moment we're certainly not far away."

Defender Michael Turner was back in training after missing the majority of pre-season, while Bradley Johnson, another long-term injury victim, was also involved.

Defender Sebastien Bassong had a minor operation in the summer but could be back to training next week, while left-back Martin Olsson could be involved at Braga following his summer move from Blackburn.

"The new players have integrated very, very well," Hughton said. "We've had a good tour of the States and we now have three very tough games before the season starts."

Press Association

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