First team stars know pressure is on - Hughes

Jonathan Redhead Stephen Hughes says Norwich City's players realise the heat is on as they try to force their way into a winning side. The Scot was recalled to the Canaries' starting line-up for the 3-0 victory at Southend on Tuesday and impressed in a withdrawn midfield role.

Jonathan Redhead

Stephen Hughes says Norwich City's players realise the heat is on as they try to force their way into a winning side.

The Scot was recalled to the Canaries' starting line-up for the 3-0 victory at Southend on Tuesday and impressed in a withdrawn midfield role. It was the 27-year-old's first start for Paul Lambert's side since facing Leeds United in the middle of October after four appearances as a substitute, as he replaced the injured Darel Russell.

And Hughes admitted players in the City team must perform, with other members of the squad breathing down their necks.


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"I was happy to be back in again," he said. "I've waited for a while on the sidelines so it was good to get a game.

"I think most important was to get the three points after Saturday's game against Carlisle. I think we let ourselves down in that one.

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"Obviously it was good to bounce back. It was a hard game and it was good to get the three points.

"We know the league is very important. We've been making good progress in the league and we knew we had to get back to winning ways and thankfully we did that against Southend.

"The sitting midfielder is somewhere I've not really played a great deal. But to get in the team you'll play anywhere.

"I was happy. Happy first and foremost that we won the game and obviously to be involved.

"There are players in the squad, and it's a massive squad, and it's all over the park that people want to get in the first XI and it's up to the manager to make the decisions.

"There's a big squad and everyone's wanting to get into the starting XI every week, so the people in the team know that if they don't perform then there's people behind them who can come in and take their place."

Although Russell should be fit this afternoon, Hughes (pictured) is likely to retain his place in the line-up to face Oldham Athletic as City look to extend a run of five home league wins in a row.

And he insists City will not be complacent against their struggling opponents who are just two places above the drop zone.

"You can't be complacent," Hughes said. "When we go out we won't think about the five games we've won before, we'll just focus on whoever we're playing. That's what we'll do, just go out there and try to get the three points.

"I think every game you go into this season is going to be difficult and they've all got their own challenges. We look forward to playing at home with the backing of the fans.

"We know it's going to be difficult again, but we'll go and try to get three points. When you're up the top of the league and you're winning most weeks then the fans get behind you and they're like an extra man, so it's good.

"Everybody enjoys playing in front of 24,000 or whatever it is, and the fans have been right behind us."

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