What Hughes offers the Canaries
CHRIS LAKEY Peter Grant believes Norwich City fans are beginning to understand the value of City midfielder Andy Hughes.
Peter Grant believes Norwich City fans are beginning to understand the value of City midfielder Andy Hughes.
The 28-year-old hasn't always earned the respect of City supporters since arriving at Carrow Road last summer from Reading.
But Grant believes the tide if changing for a player who has featured in seven of nine Championship games since Grant arrived as Nigel Worthington's successor in October.
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“His attitude has been fantastic and he has been excellent since I came in,” said Grant.
“I knew he had a difficult time but I think the fans are seeing how important he is to the squad.”
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Hughes is likely to play a part against Sunderland this weekend, although where that will be very much depends on injuries.
But it is his versatility which is proving a winner for both Grant and the fans: the last time City played Sunderland was just a month ago, winning 1-0 at Carrow Road. Hughes was a sub that day and, having come on for Paul McVeigh, found himself in the right back position for the final 10 minutes when Jurgen Colin went off injured. On Tuesday he filled in at left back, when Adam Drury went off with a back problem after just 20 minutes.
While midfield is his preferred role, it seems that if there is a gap to fill, Hughes is your man - even if he sometimes leave Grant pulling his hair out.
“He has been excellent,” said Grant. “He can be a manager's nightmare or a manager's blessing. His enthusiasm to play and his determination to play anywhere is infectous, there is no doubt about that. Sometimes it drives you up the wall, because he is so desperate to do well.
“You saw him on Saturday - last kick of the ball he makes a mad run and Robbo (Carl Robinson) gives the ball away and we conceded the goal, and the other night there, Hucks has got the ball and he runs by him when we're 2-1 up and 90 minutes gone.
“It's just his enthusiasm to play the game of football, he loves playing the game, he loves being a part of it.”