The signing of Dutch international Van Wolfswinkel, 24, in a deal worth £8.5m has raised expectations amongst the Canaries faithful.
But Hughton is urging his squad to prioritise this season, starting with Saturday's trip to relegation-threatened Wigan.
Norwich lie seven points and six places ahead of Wigan, who are third from bottom, but Hughton said: "We've got eight games to go and we have to make sure we get enough points to stay in the Premier League. This is where we want to be. You could look anywhere from Stoke downwards, the top 10 or 11 teams cannot guarantee safety.
"As regards managing expectations, what makes it easier is that we have eight big games before we will see a sight of him (Van Wolfswinkel).
"It has shown the ambition of the board but we need to make sure that all our efforts and concentrations are for this period of time.
"Ricky is very enthusiastic and knew a lot about the club. He knew the history of the club and where they want to go.
"He has a wonderful goals record. We all know how difficult it is to bring in the right players and goals are so difficult to come by. He is a player who because of his age still has improvement in him."
Wigan may be in the bottom three but Hughton believes they have demonstrated of late just how good a side they can be.
"The ironic thing is that they have probably played better this season than other seasons," added Hughton.
"But in the last two games we have seen an indication of what they can do. Everton (in the FA Cup) away was a good as you will see and they have got that character to get a last-minute winner against Newcastle.
"They have an excellent manager in Roberto Martinez, a very calm manager who is used to being in this position.
"You hope they don't have a good day. They are an excellent footballing team although they have obviously had difficulties this season, otherwise they wouldn't be in the position they are in.
"They have a lot of players playing well at the moment but they are used to going into this stage of the season and excelling."