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Hughton wants lighter schedule


Chris Hughton believes the Christmas fixture schedule should be reduced in future

Chris Hughton believes the Christmas fixture schedule should be reduced in future

Chris Hughton believes the Christmas fixture schedule should be reduced in future

Norwich manager Chris Hughton would like to see the Barclays Premier League Christmas schedule reduced by one match.

The Canaries host Fulham and Manchester United before travelling to Crystal Palace on January 1 in a busy spell of three matches in seven days.

Hughton believes calls for a winter break will never be answered, but suggests a lighter workload over the festive period would be welcome.

"We're used to playing at Christmas and it's tradition, but we're at the stage where we are able to pull one of the games out," he said.

"The Boxing Day match is tradition and is something we're all very much used to.

"Now we're entering a period where we play on Boxing Day, on the Saturday and then New Year's Day.

"We could pull the Saturday game out and that would leave us with the games on Boxing Day and New Year's Day, which everyone looks forward to

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"I don't see a winter break happening at this particular moment, although it's something people are speaking about a lot."

Relegation-threatened Fulham visit Carrow Road on Thursday seeking to continue their record of never having lost to Norwich in the Premier League.

Two days later, champions Manchester United travel to Norfolk, but Hughton views Fulham as the key fixture as 14th place Norwich seek to continue their climb away from relegation.

"Manchester United are coming up, but the most important game is Fulham because that's the next one," he said.

"United have the biggest threat in the two games, but the moment you enter a match thinking one will be easier than the other, it will smack you in the face.

"Fulham are in the area of the table we are so it's important for us.

"We're still looking at the teams below, using that as the incentive to make sure we don't drop down any further than we are.

"If you have that fear of dropping down, that gives you the determination to keep pushing onwards."

Rene Meulensteen will be overseeing his fourth match in charge of Fulham after replacing Martin Jol earlier this month.

"It's been a difficult period for Fulham and they've had a change of manager," Hughton said.

"They have a very good group of players and that's something that hasn't changed.

"They've performed well in the last few games but haven't had the results."

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