Hughton aims to keep mean streak

Chris Hughton hopes goalkeeper John Ruddy keeps the Norwich mean streak going when he returns to his old club Everton.

Last Updated: 22/11/12 at 17:14 Post Comment

Chris Hughton: Takes his side to Everton this weekend

Chris Hughton: Takes his side to Everton this weekend

Chris Hughton hopes goalkeeper John Ruddy keeps the Norwich mean streak going when he returns to his old club Everton on Saturday.

Ruddy, who made just one senior league appearance in five years at Goodison Park, has been nursing a knee injury which he received in the 1-0 win against Manchester United at Carrow Road last weekend.

The England goalkeeper has been training by himself this week but Hughton is confident he will be fit to extend Norwich's run of clean sheets.

The team have not conceded a goal in three and a half matches which is major progress for a side who lost 5-0 to Fulham on the opening day of the season and conceded five against Liverpool and four against Chelsea.

Hughton said: "Ruddy's fine. He is looking to train tomorrow and we'll look to make a decision on him for the weekend.

"He will enjoy going back to Everton and will look for the opportunity to catch up with old friends. It is only a good day though if you get something from it.

"I have been very pleased with the team defensively. It (the three clean sheets) is a wonderful stat for them. What is more important is the points you are getting. We will be severely tested on Saturday, but we are buoyed by the good spells we have had this season."

They do not come much better than beating Manchester United, which is Norwich's second major scalp of the season, having already defeated Arsenal.

"We are a team that has to play at that level to get results," said Hughton. "We have been more solid on front of goal.

"That is always pleasing for a goalkeeper and a back four but it is a real team effort. The back four have a group of players in front of them who are giving them good resistance.

"But Everton have started the season really well. They are playing a very good style of football. They are a good all-round team."

Everton, however, will be without their Belgium star Marouane Fellaini, who misses the game through suspension.

You might have thought that would have delighted Norwich but Norwegian midfielder Alex Tettey, for one, admits learning Fellaini would not be playing came as a real blow.

Tettey, whose recent form has been key to Norwich's resurgence, said: "I am very disappointed. It would have been a good test. He is their main player offensively. He has good technique. He is good with his head. He is a good player. Without him they still have good players though."

Tettey puts Norwich's improvement down to the extra work the side have put into their defence.

"There has been a great atmosphere in the whole group," Tettey said.

"It is all down to the coach for seeing something was wrong when we conceded five against Liverpool and four against Chelsea.

"He started working with the back four and the midfield players and it has started to look good."

Hughton, who could have full-back Russell Martin back from injury, was wary of considering Fellaini's absence a boost.

He said: "You are always loathe to say that it is a bonus when somebody's not playing because whoever is playing could have as big an effect as Fellaini.

"We are up against a very good outfit who are playing with a lot of confidence. Lads like Baines and Pienaar are a real threat."


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