Thursday 22 March 2018

Hughton 'won't rush Ruddy back'

John Ruddy is getting closer to a return for Norwich
John Ruddy is getting closer to a return for Norwich

Norwich manager Chris Hughton will take no chances on the fitness of England goalkeeper John Ruddy as he nears a first-team return.

The 26-year-old has not featured for the Canaries since the draw at Everton on November 24 after needing surgery on a torn muscle in his thigh. After completing 90 minutes of Norwich's 2-0 Barclays Under-21 Development League defeat at Newcastle on Monday night, Ruddy is expected to soon be back in contention over the end-of-season run-in.

Hughton, though, is determined not to rush the keeper - who returned five clean sheets before his injury - back too soon, saying: "The plan is for John to be involved in another game on Monday, then we will have to take it from there."

He revealed deputy Mark Bunn could yet be fit to face Arsenal on Saturday and explained how it is too soon to think about putting Ruddy back into action.

He added: "This weekend is too soon because we have to be conscious John has been out for a long time.

"For as much as it is good to have him back training, this is one of our last six games. Whatever games we will have John available for is a real plus and a bonus, so we need to make sure we do it right."

Bunn had been forced off early during last weekend's 2-2 draw with Swansea at Carrow Road after he picked up a groin problem on his first match back following suspension.

However, Hughton hopes the prognosis on Bunn may be positive, meaning third-choice Lee Camp would not be thrown into action against the Gunners, who are chasing a place back in the top four.

"We thought at the time it was a groin strain but it has not turned out to be, so that is good news," said Hughton.

"We will assess it tomorrow and make sure we make the right decision, because we have a season to finish off. If we were clear on it then we would be ruling him out, but at this moment we are not."

Press Association

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