Norwich V West Ham at Carrow Road : Match Preview

14 September 2012 02:01
Norwich V West Ham - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Hughton denies Norwich are soft touch.

Manager Chris Hughton insists his Norwich side are not a soft touch despite being the fairest side in the Barclays Premier League.

Norwich are the only team not to have received a yellow card so far this season after three league matches. Hughton, however, puts that down to his players' discipline, rather than any reluctance to get stuck in. Norwich take on West Ham at Carrow Road and Hughton is proud of their fair play record and hopes it will benefit the club over the course of a season.

Hughton said: "It's a good thing. We've certainly been competitive enough. It's something you speak to them about in the close season and we also have a referee's visit in the pre-season. "It is something which is coincidental. We compete very well and on another occasion there are some of those (tackles) which are near the edge which might go the other way."

To put their record in perspective, however, the first three matches have seen Liverpool and Stoke rack up seven yellow and one red card already while West Ham have received four yellows. Hughton added: "I'm sure it won't last for too long. Is there a particular reason for it? No, we have been competitive enough especially in the last two games. "It is something that I welcome, though, and it might be something that further down the line stops us picking up a suspension and that has to be a good thing."

Defender Russell Martin looks likely to return after pulling out of the Scotland squad with an ankle injury suffered against Tottenham while Hughton will check on forward Simeon Jackson who endured a long haul international schedule with Canada. England Under-21 star Harry Kane, on loan from Tottenham, could also join the squad.

The 19-year-old has been compared to former Tottenham and Manchester United striker Teddy Sheringham and Hughton said: "Same position, similar heights. Harry's a mobile player and a good finisher. "If he ends up being anywhere near as good a player as Teddy that would be a plus for the lad."

Meanwhile, West Ham manager Sam Allardyce has revealed his excitement at standing back and observing his new-look squad during training sessions. Due to injuries and the international break Allardyce has seen most of his squad come together for the first time this week and he believes it is a group of players strong enough to do well in the Barclays Premier League this season.

He said: "Watching it (the squad) jog around the pitch and doing the training is when you say we have a good chance of doing well this year if we can keep them all fit and keep them playing to their best. "I think we could have a relatively good season - it is far too early to tell what combinations will be what and who will perform better. "Everyone who has a place will have to fight very hard to keep their place now with the squad we have got and anyone who gets a place will have to perform very, very well to keep it if they get the chance and that competition for places is a huge factor on getting the best out of the players on a consistent basis which is what you have to do to get the results you want in this division."

Allardyce saw all of his international players return from duty without any injury concerns although Winston Reid only landed back in Britain from New Zealand on Thursday. The Hammers are missing Jack Collison and loan-signing Andy Carroll through injury but the rest of Allardyce's squad is available for selection when they travel to face Norwich on Saturday.

Loan signing Yossi Benayoun featured in both of Israel's World Cup qualifiers but Allardyce is still not sure whether the midfielder is ready to start for West Ham. "I couldn't possibly answer that question at this point in time," he said. "Yossi has been away with his national side and only had a light training session, so we will assess the squad on Friday and make a decision on the starting line-up from there."

Source: PA

World Cup Group G

Belgium 1 0 0 3 3
England 1 0 0 1 3
Tunisa 0 0 1 -1 0
Panama 0 0 1 -3 0
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