Declan Rudd set to play for Norwich City before loan exit
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Declan Rudd will start against Luton Town in the FA Cup this weekend – but Norwich City boss Chris Hughton insists the ideal scenario is to get the Diss-bred youngster out on loan in search of regular football.
Hughton made experienced goalkeeper Lee Camp his first January window signing earlier this week. The Northern Irish international is ineligible to face the Hatters after featuring for Nottingham Forest earlier in this season’s cup competition, but his arrival has a two-fold benefit for Hughton, with injured first choice John Ruddy on the sidelines.
“I just felt it was right going into this second half of the season to add some experience,” said Hughton. “To put that pressure on Mark Bunn, which is always valuable in terms of getting competition and that is something which is much-needed at any level, but also because we have got two potentially good young goalkeepers. With Dec, certainly, I would think it is the opportunity to get him out on loan because he has played a minimal amount of games, if we are talking about 90 minutes, at senior level. I just felt the balance of the two factors, with having that experienced competition at the top end and the opportunity for the younger lads to get that valuable experience. The decision to bring in Lee came up fairly quick so we will certainly be doing our work now about trying to get the younger lads possibly out on loan.”
Hughton was quick to allay fears Camp’s arrival is a signal Ruddy’s return from thigh surgery may take longer than expected, with the England international still on course to be back before the end of the current campaign.
“We are very much hoping he will be ready before the end of the season, but it is still a fair amount of time that he is going to be out,” said Hughton. “That being the case, we had to make sure we gave ourselves the best possible chance and the best possible cover.”
Sebastien Bassong (calf) has trained this week after being left out of the Premier League defeat at Liverpool as a precaution. Fellow defender Steven Whittaker is also back in training after his lay-off with a hip injury. Hughton plans to factor in Tottenham’s pending league visit to Norfolk next week in his final decision on whether to include the duo against the Hatters.
“Seb has trained okay this week and he would certainly be alright for Tottenham,” he said. “Whittaker, possibly too early for Saturday. He did his first training session with us on Monday. It might be too early for him, but what we might see is him on the bench this weekend.”
Hughton confirmed midfielder Andrew Surman will definitely feature against Luton, but the Norwich boss has ruled out starting roles for the likes of George Francomb, Korey Smith or the Murphy twins.
“No, it is too soon and that is not anything detrimental to Josh or Jacob. They are coming along very well but at this moment it is too soon to be considered,” said Hughton. “I shall be making changes. Andrew Surman will play, Declan will play in goal and what we will have, obviously, is decisions to make on the starting 11, but it will be a strong squad.
“Whatever changes I make if I look at the 18 involved they will be all ones who have been involved in first team. Generally we have a squad that is fit, apart from Whittaker, who is just coming back, and John Ruddy.”
Hughton revealed striker Steve Morison (thigh) is not under consideration before City’s next Premier League away trip to QPR.