Norwich City boss Chris Hughton’s pleased to come away from QPR with point
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Mark Bunn’s latest heroics in the goalless draw at QPR underlined his value to the cause, according to Chris Hughton.
Norwich’s stand-in keeper has had to take his share of flak during the Canaries’ recent downturn as part of a side that in recent times had appeared to abandon the miserly defensive instincts of their Premier League club-record run.
Bunn’s shot-stopping ability preserved a midweek point against his boyhood club Tottenham at Carrow Road and the former Blackburn keeper served up fresh evidence in west London he remains an able deputy to England international John Ruddy.
The 28-year-old was again a resolute barrier in a commanding shift highlighted by his second half penalty save from Adel Taarabt after he was adjudged to have clipped Jamie Mackie in attempting to deal with Javier Garrido’s weak back pass.
Bunn also acrobatically denied Andros Townsend with a flying mid-air leap in the frenetic final stages to underline he is still very much the man in possession following Lee Camp’s arrival on a free transfer during the January window.
“He has been good for me since he came here,” said Hughton. “Unfortunately for Mark he has been in a period when our form has dipped and we have had a couple of big ones, Man City where we conceded four and five at Liverpool. I think his overall game has been good. We certainly needed him here. From our point of view the penalty is a good save from Bunny. I haven’t seen the incident again but no complaints from us. Fortunately for us we have got a keeper who guessed the right way.
“I think it was a decent point for us. Any point away from home in this division is a good point. Particularly against a team in good form.
“We’re on the back of a dip in form which has seen us not pick up many points. We needed a reaction and we certainly got that against Tottenham who are a good, offensive team. We knew QPR would want to win this game and hence it was a tough game but I thought a draw was a fair result.”
Toiling Rangers remained a distant 11 points adrift of the Canaries at the final whistle despite Harry Redknapp handing a debut to big-money signing Chris Samba and introducing one-time England striker Bobby Zamora from the bench to offset the injury loss of Loic Remy. City may have proved more than a match on the pitch, but off it is a different matter.
“Yes, but I think QPR can afford to do it,” said Hughton. “I’ve been nothing but impressed by the way Norwich City Football Club go about their business. They are very conscious that three seasons ago this was a League One team and I think at one stage, three or four years ago, almost went into administration. The club has had to build slowly and build in the correct way. For us we went through this window putting in two very big, substantial bids for players, far more than this club has ever done. So I think that shows the direction we want to go but it has to be done in a very, very sensible way and I think that’s how we’ll continue to do it.”
Anthony Pilkington’s hamstring injury provided the one genuine sour note from Norwich’s trip to the capital. Hughton confirmed afterwards the wide player would be withdrawn from the Republic of Ireland squad for this week’s Polish friendly in Dublin.
“We’ll assess it and how bad it is but certainly we will be pulling him out,” said Hughton. “It is a case seeing how bad it is over the next day or two.”