Chris Hughton: Clean bill of health for Norwich City after international break
16:19 13 September 2012
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Norwich City manager Chris Hughton can smile after his international players returned to Colney in one piece, in time to prepare for the Premier League visit of West Ham United on Saturday.
The most travelled include striker Steve Morison, who featured heavily in Wales’ two World Cup qualifiers with the second in Serbia, while Simeon Jackson played a large part in Canada’s double header with Panama across the Atlantic.
Both have been given extra time off training to recover – and both could feature when the Hammers visit on Saturday (12.45pm).
Having played 69 minutes of Scotland’s own draw with Serbia, Robert Snodgrass sat out their midweek outing as an unused substitute – recent signing Alex Tettey doing likewise for Norway’s two qualifiers.
“Everybody’s back fit and well,” said Hughton. “Simeon had a long way to travel and had two games in Canada, but he’s back and in good shape, as have all the others.
“Some played and participated, some didn’t – so we’re grateful for the ones that weren’t involved, but we are no different to any other club and we are at a stage now where we do have more international players than we did a few years ago, which is a plus for us because I like to think it means this club has achieved something over the last few years.
“But we don’t have as many as others, so we’re grateful they’re back fit and well, and looking forward to the weekend.”
Those who won’t feature on Saturday include Elliott Bennett, who is continuing his recovery from a knee injury, and centre-back Elliott Ward, who has missed out on a place in Hughton’s 25-man Premier League squad.
A reported loan move to Bristol City collapsed during the international break.
“Elliott Bennett is doing some good running at the moment – he won’t be too far away, but he’s making good progress,” said Hughton. “Steven Whittaker (ankle) is probably seeing out the time we felt that it would take. We were hoping that it was going to be a little bit shorter than that – he got injured in that third week of pre-season and we would’ve hoped he would have been back by now.
“But it’s probably taken its course. Again, he’s doing some good work with the fitness coach at the moment and he shouldn’t be too far away.”
Hughton added: “Elliott Ward is still here. He’s missed a part of pre-season but he’s here and training well, so at this moment he’s still very much a Norwich player until otherwise.
“There has been interest in Elliott, and rightly so because he’s a good footballer and someone who has served this club very well, a player of vast experience too.
“So yes, he’s fit and well, and at this moment he’s not in our 25 list which if you’re looking at the options for him, there is the loan option which we feel would very much benefit him and we’re hopeful that will happen.
“There has been interest and so there should be. But until somebody decides they’re going to take him on a loan basis, he’s still very much a Norwich player.”
Russell Martin – withdrawn from the Scotland squad after picking up an ankle injury in the Canaries’ 1-1 draw at Spurs – trained with his Norwich team-mates on Thursday and is expected to be involved on Saturday.