Belfast Telegraph

Hughton targets vital victory

Manager Chris Hughton accepts Norwich must quickly start to deliver the performances necessary to prove they have what it takes to stay in the Barclays Premier League.

Despite a run of only two wins from 15 matches, the Canaries have so far just managed to avoid being sucked into the bottom three, currently some four points clear.

Norwich are about to embark upon a set of fixtures against sides around them at the wrong end of the table - starting with Saturday's visit of Sunderland, who if they win all their matches in hand would move clear of trouble themselves.

With their final four games coming against Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal, Hughton accepts his team need to get some positive results on the board as soon as possible.

"Sunderland is a big game for us, particularly with the season coming to the last eight games," Hughton said on Norwich City TV.

"We need to make sure that we are picking up the points that we need, and it needs to start with the next game, particularly when it is a home game.

"The results and performances have been good at home.

"We have to very much focus on ourselves and give ourselves the best possible chance of having a good end to the season."

Hughton was the subject of the travelling fans' frustrations following last weekend's 4-2 loss at Southampton, and for several months has seen his position come under scrutiny.

The Norwich manager is hoping for a positive response against the Black Cats.

"There is no doubt that the fact it is against a team around us makes it a bigger game," Hughton said.

"One because we need to the points ourselves, and it's points you don't want Sunderland to get too.

"We haven't conceded that many goals at Carrow Road, but what we have got to be able to do is be positive enough to make sure that we can score the goals that we need to win."

Former Sunderland defender Michael Turner is unlikely to feature against his old club, despite playing for the under-21s in midweek on return from a hamstring injury

On-loan Newcastle winger Jonas Gutierrez (calf) is also back, but is another not expected to be involved this weekend.

Midfielder Leroy Fer remains out with a hamstring problem, while winger Elliott Bennett has this week finally returned to training following seven months out with a serious knee injury.

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