May 24 2013 Latest news:
Thursday, July 5, 2012
Chris Hughton plans to take his time deciding whether there will be exits from his Norwich City squad before the new Premier League season.
His recruitment kicked off on Tuesday with the unveiling of new signings Jacob Butterfield and Steven Whittaker, while fresh long-term deals have headed the way of Andrew Surman, Russell Martin, John Ruddy and – finally – Grant Holt.
Hughton had to do his homework and DVD-watching over a holiday in Florida following his Carrow Road arrival on June 7, but he will wait to work with his new squad in person before forming a clearer picture of the players at his disposal.
“That, I still need to determine,” said Hughton, when asked about possible summer exits.
“We start pre-season training on Monday and I expect everybody to be there, but these are decisions I will have to make over a period in time.
“It’s not important I make those decisions today or tomorrow, but over the period that I need to. What is important is that we get players in, we strengthen that squad – a squad that has did very well last season – and make decisions from there.
“You have to get a feel for the players. I can watch as many games as I can, and you can think you know players as footballers on the pitch and you think you might know their character a little – but until you work with players you don’t.
“Some players will develop well and some will figure more than others. You just really want to get everybody together and get that first feel and make a decision from there.”
Having added Whittaker and Butterfield to the pot and with the likes Korey Smith, Tom Adeyemi, David Fox, Simeon Jackson and Elliott Ward all signed on for another year, plenty of options already appear available to Hughton as City prepare for a second successive Premier League campaign for the first time since the early 1990s.
And Hughton admitted Norwich’s good health and strong young talent is down to the previous manager, who took the top-flight’s youngest group to 12th on their Premier League return.
“We’re building towards a strong future,” said Hughton.
“The previous manager Paul Lambert did an exceptional job over the three years he was here and is certainly a very hard act to follow. My responsibility can only be to build on the platform the club has set and Paul has set with the team.
“It’s not an easy task because this is a very tough division, but I’ve got to do it the best way I can and to do that you have to have as competitive a squad as you can. We will continue to build towards that.”
It means the wheeling and dealing will continue for Hughton as he eyes areas where the Canaries need competition – if not strengthening.
“It is a question, apart from knowing the squad as I do, of being able to see them in that pre-season period but also determining the areas we need to strengthen – it’s not bringing in stronger but bringing in competition for certain areas,” added Hughton.
“So I have in my own mind certain areas I would like a little bit more competition. But that will be developed over a period of time.
“What we do have is two new signings and someone in Grant who also feels like a new signing. We’re quite happy with the business so far and we’ll keep searching.”