Sport Soccer

Saturday 20 January 2018

Hughton attempts to accentuate the positives as Norwich struggle continues

Matt McGeehan

CHRIS Hughton is confident Norwich can turn the momentum after seven losses in 10 games, including Saturday's embarrassing defeat to Luton where they became the first top-flight team to be knocked out of the FA Cup by a non-League side in the Premier League era.

The 1-0 fourth-round loss to Blue Square Premier Luton, who emulated Sutton's 1989 feat of beating Coventry, compounded a miserable spell for the Canaries following a 5-0 defeat at Liverpool.

The Liverpool result extended Norwich's winless run in the league to six and left Hughton's 13th-placed side with one point from a possible 18.

The City boss, though, is refusing to panic ahead of Wednesday's clash with Tottenham at Carrow Road as the recent run followed a 10-match unbeaten streak.

"It's been a tough week, but when you're playing at the level that we're playing you have to be able to ride these poor weeks, this poor run of form," said manager Hughton, whose side drew with Spurs at White Hart Lane and beat them in the Capital One Cup earlier this term.

"We are at this moment in a good position in this division. At the beginning of this poor run we were 10 points clear of the relegation zone, we're now seven points clear.

"You can't afford to get carried away when you're on a good run - certainly we didn't do that here - and you can't afford to let it get you down too much when you're on a bad run.

"We just need to get back to winning ways and picking up points again.

"A good result in the next game sees things in a different light."

Hughton described Saturday's loss to the Hatters as one of the lowest points of his managerial career and his players know they must make amends against Tottenham, who also tumbled out of the FA Cup at the weekend, losing to npower Championship side Leeds.

Hughton, who pointed out his side are three points behind Stoke, one adrift of West Ham and above Fulham, added: "We're quite pleased the (Tottenham) game has come round as quickly as it has.

"We can't underestimate the quality that Tottenham have, because it's there to see by their league form.

"We've had good performances against Tottenham this season. It's an opportunity for us to get back to winning ways."

Hughton is continuing to make enquiries as he bids to add to his squad in the final days of a "frustrating" January transfer window.

A striker remains a priority, but there is no progress on moves for Ricky van Wolfswinkel of Sporting Lisbon, Celtic's Gary Hooper, Swansea's Danny Graham and Kei Kamara of Major League Soccer outfit Sporting Kansas City.

"The search is ongoing," said Hughton, who anticipates a late night on deadline day.

"We've been linked with 40 to 50 strikers. It's a very difficult time (the transfer window).

"There are so many phone calls, so many agents pushing players. You don't even know if they are available and probably most of them are not.

"I think we'll be late Thursday night. Hopefully any business we have done is before then."

QPR's Jamie Mackie is the latest forward to be linked with Norwich.

"He (Mackie) is a name I'm aware of and has been mentioned," Hughton said.

"He's also got a quality (value) to Queens Park Rangers. He's very much their player."

Hughton admits improvement is required at both ends of the pitch.

"We're not hiding from anything," Hughton said.

"We're not scoring the goals that we would like to score and at Liverpool we conceded five goals.

"It's for us to address those concerns."

The returns of fit-again defensive duo Sebastien Bassong and Steven Whittaker from calf and hip injuries, respectively, provide a boost.

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