Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 12 July 2014

Hughton targets sustained progress

Chris Hughton's first priority as Norwich boss will be to ensure Premier League survival

Chris Hughton will not be setting any targets for his Norwich squad next season other than Barclays Premier League stability, but feels they possess the "blueprint" to take the club forward.

Following Paul Lambert's departure to take over at Aston Villa, former Newcastle and Birmingham manager Hughton has been charged with continuing the momentum which has taken the Norfolk club from npower League One to the top flight in successive seasons.

"Every season is a tough season and we will be one of a group of eight to 10 teams whose biggest priority will be sustaining Premier League status, but you never know what is possible," Hughton said.

"With the football this club played last season and the endeavour which the players showed, I would be delighted if I got the same again.

"These players are prepared to work hard, they have a real desire to want to do well, that has to be the blueprint of any team."

Hughton has been busy assessing his squad during the first few days of pre-season training.

The squad will head out to Austria for a training camp ahead of a friendly with Hertha Berlin on July 21, where the likes of Daniel Ayala, Marc Tierney and James Vaughan will all be hoping for some game time after frustrating injury spells.

New signing Jacob Butterfield, who joined from Barnsley, will also travel as he continues rehabilitation from knee surgery, while Scotland international Steven Whittaker is fully involved despite the continued fall-out following his free-agent move from Rangers.

Hughton is expected to bring in a couple more fresh faces ahead of the Premier League kick-off at Fulham on August 18, and has been linked with a move for Birmingham defender Curtis Davies.

"I would like to think there will be some more additions, and we want to make the squad more competitive," said the Norwich boss, who was also quick to tie-up key men Grant Holt and John Ruddy to improved deals.

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