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Norwich V Wigan at Carrow Road : Match Preview
Updated published : 14 Dec 2012 16:01:25
Norwich V Wigan - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.
Hughton not underestimating Latics
Norwich manager Chris Hughton will prepare for the visit of struggling Wigan exactly the same as he would for Manchester United.
The Canaries saw their 10-match unbeaten run in all competitions come to an abrupt halt with a 4-1 home defeat by Aston Villa and former boss Paul Lambert in the quarter-finals of the Capital One Cup on Tuesday night.
However, Norwich remain one of the form sides in the Barclays Premier League - second only to leaders United, with their last defeat at Chelsea back on October 6 and having recorded four successive victories at Carrow Road, including 1-0 wins against Arsenal and Sir Alex Ferguson's pacesetters.
Despite the Latics currently labouring in 18th place following four defeats in six outings, Hughton insists his men will be fully focused on delivering the required performance.
"Wigan are a very good side and sometimes the circumstances are that you find yourself in a place in the league which you might feel is a false position. It certainly surprises me a bit where they are at the moment," Hughton told a press conference.
"Everything I have seen about them has been good, they can score goals and have plenty of offensive options. They are a very well drilled football team.
"Wigan have suffered in recent weeks with injuries, which might have affected them, but our approach has to be exactly the same as it would be for any other game because it will be very tough."
Hughton continued: "We know every match is going to be difficult for us, and also we know what we need to put in to get a result.
"At the moment, confidence is high, but it is also about bouncing back and trying to get on track again. As with any defeat, it is about a reaction - and I expect a very good reaction on Saturday."
Norwich hope to have midfielders Wes Hoolahan (groin) and Alex Tettey (thigh) back for the match.
Scotland defender Steven Whittaker (hip) will be assessed after missing the midweek Capital One Cup quarter-final defeat by Aston Villa.
On-loan Tottenham forward Harry Kane is back in training after his broken metatarsal, while wingers Ryan Bennett and Andrew Surman (both knee) also continue their rehabilitation and England goalkeeper John Ruddy (thigh) remains sidelined until the new year.
Meanwhile, Wigan boss Roberto Martinez has emphasised he and his players are not about to let the fact they have dropped into the Barclays Premier League relegation zone get them down.
The Latics slipped to 18th in the table on Tuesday when Sunderland moved out of the bottom three and up to 15th by beating Reading 3-0.
It would appear to be a worrying development for Wigan, but they are just a point behind the Black Cats and two behind 14th-placed Newcastle, while 16th-placed Southampton and 17th-placed Aston Villa are ahead of them on goal difference alone.
And while Martinez is dissatisfied with the total of 15 points his side have accrued after 16 games, he is keen to point out that there is no despondency in the camp over the present standings.
Asked if Wigan's confidence had taken a knock by how the table had altered on Tuesday, the Spaniard said: "No.
"We are not happy with the points tally we have got, but we are not looking at the (positions in the) table because the small margins are showing - we have three teams divided by goal difference.
"In December, your position in the table only gives you an indication.
"I'm very happy with where we are in terms of the way we are performing and the strong football concepts we have shown.
"It is clear what we have to improve and I don't think we are very far away from turning our good performances into consistent, good scorelines.
"That is where the work is, and that work has to start now and go until the end of the season.
"But the attitude of the players and some of the football this season has been consistently of the highest standard."
Wigan have defender Maynor Figueroa back available but the Latics are still struggling with injuries.
Both Figueroa and skipper Gary Caldwell have completed one-match suspensions, but while the former is now eligible for selection, the latter looks unlikely to feature due to a hamstring problem.
Caldwell's fellow centre-back Ivan Ramis also appears set to miss out due to a hamstring complaint, and Antolin Alcaraz (groin), Albert Crusat (knee), Ryo Miyaichi (ankle) and Ben Watson (broken leg) are all definite absentees.