Hughton defends Van Wolfswinkel

21 November 2013 04:31

Norwich manager Chris Hughton will not rush striker Ricky van Wolfswinkel back into action from a toe injury, but is confident the club's record signing will soon be among the goals again.

Van Wolfswinkel is still sidelined by a toe injury, which is understood to have seen the Holland forward receive treatment at a specialist in London over the international break.

There was much hype surrounding the summer arrival of the 24-year-old in an £8.5million deal from Sporting Lisbon, but so far Van Wolfswinkel has managed just one goal from eight appearances - a header on his debut against Everton on the opening day of the new season.

Hughton, though, has every confidence once he is fully fit again, Van Wolfswinkel will continue to grow within the team.

"It is a small muscular problem in his toe and the difficulty we have had is it is one of those which has taken a little bit longer to heal," said Hughton, who revealed goalkeeper Mark Bunn was set for a spell on the sidelines after a minor ankle operation.

"The very good news is it is not a serious injury, but he needs a bit of time to rest it, probably for a maximum of two weeks, and make sure he is 100 per cent, and he will be."

Hughton added: "We brought a few players in during the summer and some adapt quicker than others.

"When you have signed someone as a record signing, there is always that hype and expectation that comes with it.

"Some hit the ground running and the goals go flying in, others the contribution is good and it takes a bit longer.

"One thing I cannot fault Ricky on is what he has given the team in his work ethic, what he has not got is the goals he would have liked, but his contribution to the team has been very good.

"Sometimes that happens - if you look at the Premier League, there are also some other big name strikers who have come in and have not got the goals they would have liked either.

"Rickie is a confident lad and that comes from someone who is used to scoring goals.

"He took a little time to settle in when he moved to Portugal, so I have no worries about him."

Hughton reported no fresh injury problems from Norwich's returning internationals, with Martin Olsson and Johan Elmander both involved for Sweden's World Cup play-off defeat to Portugal.

Number two goalkeeper Bunn, though, is set for a spell on the sidelines.

Hughton, who takes his side to Newcastle on Saturday, said: "He might well be out for a period, probably about four or five weeks.

"He has had a very small operation on his ankle to remove a bit of bone."

Hughton is hoping Norwich can build on a much-needed home victory over West Ham before the international break, which lifted them out of the bottom three, against Alan Pardew's men this weekend.

"We are not many points away from teams who are deemed to have had a good start to their season, so the margins are not so big," he said.

"We would probably have preferred a match straight away, but we will only really know our reaction come five o'clock on Saturday.

"Now it is about picking up points and going into every game giving yourself an opportunity to do that."

Hughton is looking forward to his return to St James' Park, where he was manager from November 2009 to December 2010, overseeing promotion to the Premier League as Championship winners after stepping up from a caretaker role.

"It is a wonderful stadium and I would want every one of my players to look forward to going there," said Hughton, who was dismissed despite the club sitting in mid-table and having won at Arsenal.

"The fans can create a great atmosphere and drive the team on.

"It is an exciting place to go and try to win a football match."


Source: PA