Norwich City's Stephen Hughes keen to take chance

Paddy Davitt Norwich midfielder Stephen Hughes is desperate to impress Paul Lambert in tonight's Johnstone's Paint Trophy southern area semi final at Southampton.Hughes is pushing for his first start since City's 3-0 League One victory at Southend earlier this month with Lambert hinting his fringe men could be in line for some valuable game time.

Paddy Davitt

Norwich midfielder Stephen Hughes is desperate to impress Paul Lambert in tonight's Johnstone's Paint Trophy southern area semi final at Southampton.

Hughes is pushing for his first start since City's 3-0 League One victory at Southend earlier this month with Lambert hinting his fringe men could be in line for some valuable game time.

The 27-year-old Scottish international capped a second half cameo with a late equaliser at St Mary's in last month's 2-2 draw.


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"I'm hoping to get a few more starts but it just depends what is in the manager's thoughts as to how he approaches it," said Hughes. "Because the squad is fairly big some of the lads who haven't featured recently have had games earlier in this competition. It's hard. I don't like sitting on the bench, I don't want to be on the bench but you just have to get on with it and hope your time will come in whatever position the manager wants to play me."

Hughes insists any thoughts of reaching a showpiece Wembley cup final are firmly on the backburner until Lambert's men clear a difficult hurdle on the south coast.

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"There's still a long way to go to be fair," he said. "We have to beat a good Southampton team and we can't look any further than that really. It's about taking each game as it comes which is the only way to look at it. We'll go down to win like we always do but they are a good team. They've had a few good results and they are on a bit of a run themselves but we will be looking to progress in the cup."

Hughes backs City's defence to shackle 19-goal Rickie Lambert.

"We played them a few weeks ago and we managed to keep him quiet with the two lads at the back," said Hughes. "He's a handful and he has scored quite a few goals but we dealt with him before and I'm confident with the players we've got we can look after him. I expect nothing different this time around. For us to get anything we need to be on top of our game. It would be nice to get another goal but the most important thing is we progress I don't care who scores. Its tough test for up but lets hope we can come back up the road in the next round."

Hughes believes Norwich can take plenty of heart from Saturday's battling point at Yeovil.

"It was a strange game to be involved in but it could be a good point come the end of the season," he said. "It kept the unbeaten run going at what was a difficult place. You know over the course of a season you are going to get games like that but I think we showed good character. There is a confidence about us because of the way we have been playing that if we can't win you need to get something from a game, which is why Saturday was so important."

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