Norwich V Hull at Carrow Road : Match Preview

17 January 2014 04:31
Norwich V Hull - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Hughton braced for Tigers attack

Norwich boss Chris Hughton is prepared for Hull to boast impressive firepower in Saturday's clash at Carrow Road.

The Tigers will have striker Nikica Jelavic in their squad following his move from Everton, and they also clinched a deal to bring in West Brom's Irish forward Shane Long on Friday.

Hughton could do with such proven goalscorers himself with the Canaries on an eight-match winless streak during which they have scored just four goals.

Hull beat Norwich 1-0 on their own turf, and Hughton said of Jelavic and Long: "Of course they are two quality players and that's the reason why I presume they wanted to bring them in. Certainly they have brought in two good players.

"What we've been missing is the quality at both ends but especially scoring the chances to win games.

"We know that we're on a disappointing run, and the best way to solve that one is by showing the grit and determination to win games."

Hull are in 10th place in the Premier League table, five spots ahead of Norwich, but Hughton pointed out only three points separate the sides.

He added: "It shows how tight it is in this division. But you can't hide facts and the fact is we have not won for eight games including cup games.

"There's no doubt it's a big game. I think the fact that we're playing at home is important and that we're playing a team who are not too far above us in the division who have been deemed to have had a very good season so far.

"It's also a big game for us because we want to improve on our form. We're disappointed with where we are this particular moment."

Hughton may give a debut to new signing Jonas Gutierrez for the visit of Hull.

Argentinian midfielder Gutierrez, who joined from Newcastle, has declared himself fit while Alex Tettey and Anthony Pilkington will also both be in the squad after long injury absences.

"He certainly comes into contention," said Hughton of his new recruit. "He's enthusiastic and was a very well-liked player up at Newcastle by the supporters and can play on either flank or a couple of other positions."

Gutierrez, who expressed his bafflement at being made surplus to requirements at Newcastle, is also backing Norwich to stay up this season.

He said: "The squad has the quality, now we need a few results to get the confidence back. One of the best things in football is to get results soon to have that confidence again."

Long is eager to start repaying Hull manager Steve Bruce's confidence after completing a protracted move to the KC Stadium.

Long was on Bruce's radar in the summer and came close to joining the Tigers on deadline day in September only for West Brom to pull the plug when their own pursuit of Romelu Lukaku hit the rocks.

But Bruce's interest never faded and the managerial upheaval at The Hawthorn, with Pepe Mel replacing Steve Clarke, opened the door for a fresh bid this month.

Long has now put pen to paper on a three-and-a-half-year deal which could cost Hull up to B#7million - a significant financial commitment less than two days after signing Croatia striker Jelavic for a fee that could reach B#7.5million.

That makes the pair Hull's most expensive players ever and, with Long having seen his position at West Brom gradually eroded in recent months, he is glad to be somewhere where he knows he feels needed.

"It shows he (Bruce) really wants me at the club and that it wasn't a 'panic buy' last time he came in for me," Long told Hull's YouTube channel.

"He's had a lot of time to think about it and it so it gives me confidence that I'm what he wants.

"The pressure now is on me to produce and to follow up on his confidence in me. I'm excited, it seems like a good opportunity for me, and I want to get out there now and play football.

"I hope it's money well spent and it's up to me to prove myself by scoring goals and I hope to do that sooner rather than later."

With West Brom having accepted Hull's initial advances in September and declined to open talks on an option to extend Long's deal for an extra year, the 26-year-old appeared to be on his way out of the midlands for some time.

Despite that, he has featured regularly this season and it appears a desire to free up money for new manager Pepe Mel was the final reason for his exit.

"(Last time) it was always last minute and it fell through in the end," he said.

"Steve Clarke was manager at the time and he didn't want to me to go so it didn't happen. I went back and concentrated on my football.

"Now Steve Clarke has gone and the club wanted to get the funds in so the only option was to leave.

"I enjoyed my time at West Brom but it is time for a change and new chapter in my career."

Jelavic is more likely to start having trained with the side this week, but Long may also feature as Yannick Sagbo and Danny Graham come under pressure for places up front.

Paul McShane (ankle), Sone Aluko (Achilles) and Robbie Brady (groin) are still missing for Hull.

Source: PA