Hughes back in business

David Cuffley Stephen Hughes will put his best foot forward for Norwich City tonight after making a surprisingly swift return to action at the weekend. The Scottish midfielder, stretchered off at Milton Keynes just a fortnight ago, was summoned from the bench six minutes before half-time in Saturday's 1-1 draw at Gillingham.

David Cuffley

Stephen Hughes will put his best foot forward for Norwich City tonight after making a surprisingly swift return to action at the weekend.

The Scottish midfielder, stretchered off at Milton Keynes just a fortnight ago, was summoned from the bench six minutes before half-time in Saturday's 1-1 draw at Gillingham after the Canaries, already down to 10 men through the sending-off of goalkeeper Fraser Forster, were forced to reshuffle their line-up following full-back Jon Otsemobor's exit with a hamstring injury.

Now 26-year-old Hughes is expected to keep his place for tonight's League One game against Leyton Orient at Carrow Road (7.45pm).

"It's getting there. I missed the game against Charlton but I managed to play 50-odd minutes on Saturday, so the fitness is fine," he said.

"I'm feeling good. I played a bit on Saturday so I'm looking forward and hope I can play my part tonight as well."

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Hughes suffered a damaged nerve in his foot when he was upended by ex-Canary Luke Chadwick early in the 2-1 defeat by MK Dons, but was back in light training before the end of last week.

He said: "I think it was just the way the guy caught me. He hit the nerve and I lost a wee bit of feeling, but thankfully that's OK now and I only missed the one game. It probably could have been a lot worse. I'll just play on now and put that behind me."

After playing his part in 10-man City's fightback from 1-0 down, Hughes paid tribute to the spirit in the dressing room.

He said: "After we went down to 10 men I thought we showed good resilience and character to get back in the game and we were unlucky at the death - we could have sneaked it.

"We've shown we don't throw the towel in, we keep going right to the end and I think we've been unlucky in some games.

"Tonight should be a good game for us, a chance to get the crowd behind us and get the three points."

Manager Paul Lambert admitted he was asking a lot from Hughes after 10 days without training.

He said: "All you can do is get the best out of him at the minute because he hasn't trained, or had much in pre-season, let alone anything else. Even him coming in on Saturday was great. It was a big, big effort."