Norwich City boss Chris Hughton delighted with Kei Kamara's impact
PUBLISHED: 11:34 01 March 2013 | UPDATED: 12:40 01 March 2013
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Chris Hughton is confident on-loan talisman Kei Kamara will not wilt in the spotlight after his decisive Premier League cameo against Everton.
The Sporting Kansas striker notched his first Norwich City goal since a January window switch from the MLS to peg back the Toffees in a thrilling 2-1 stoppage time win last weekend. Hughton acknowledged Kamara has been a breath of fresh air since his arrival, and the City boss is convinced the 28-year-old can handle the growing hype.
“He has probably been a pleasant surprise for our fans and more importantly he has had an impact,” said Hughton. “What we are keen to stress is he is part of a team. He is a very enthusiastic individual but he is mature enough to know the right things to say, the correct way to behave and along with that it is a very exciting time for him. To come from the MLS at his age into this division he will be really grateful for everything he has got and desperate to give something back.
“We’ll find out more about him the longer he is here. When they come through the door and you train with the player every day you see how he can develop. He has a fair bit of scope to his game and we have seen a small part of that in the last couple of matches. I certainly brought him here to be involved. We have been delighted by the impact he has made so far. Not just on the pitch but off it.”
Kamara has already scored against champions-elect Manchester United in a pre-season game for his parent club, but Hughton insisted a first Norwich start at Old Trafford this weekend may have come too soon.
“What he has done so far is give us something different to what we already have,” he said. “He is excited being at Norwich and in the Premier League. Those decisions on whether he is up to speed to start a game are ones to be made on a daily basis. He hadn’t played 11 versus 11 in a competitive game for some six weeks before he came to us.
“We are quite keen to play it down here within the club and I understand the interest in him but at this moment he has made two appearances – one for 15 minutes and one for 30 minutes. He is part of a very hard-working team that is striving to get results. I don’t think pre-season friendlies really count. Even United lose the occasional pre-season game, if not many of the games that matter, but that is something nice for Kei. I probably knew about that if I went back through the research we had done. What registered more are the league games he had played in the MLS.”
Midfield duo Alex Tettey and Andrew Surman will definitely miss out on an Old Trafford trip with knee injuries.
“Alex has a slight knee problem,” confirmed Hughton. “It is one we have just decided is best to rest it so we’ll assess him and see how he can train during the following week. It’s not a major problem. Andrew has had a problem with his knee. He is certainly out for the next few games and that is one we have to continue to assess which is a bit of a shame for him because he has got himself back into training on a couple of occasions and just felt it.”
England keeper John Ruddy remains on course for a potential return to the ranks over the Premier League run-in.
“I think what we had pencilled in is the end of the March. That is still on schedule,” said Hughton. “He is out doing a lot of good work and he is in very good shape at the moment. We have to manage it the right way, particularly when it comes to a keeper they have to get that feel back between the posts, get your angles and distances right. Firstly it is about being fully-fit and being able to play. We’ll then work out what amount of games he needs.”