Norwich City manager Chris Hughton says his side face a "big match" against fellow strugglers Reading this weekend - but that his players are in good spirits.
The Canaries start their battle for Premier League survival at home to bottom-side Reading on Saturday. Claiming all three points would be a step in the right direction - and a step towards securing a third successive year in the Premier League.
This game is crucial to both the club and its fans, as everyone knows that dropping out of the top flight can severely impact on finances.
“It is a big match for us, there’s no doubt about that,” he said at his pre-match press conference at Colney Training Centre on Thursday afternoon. “Our form probably hasn’t been indicated in points as such, but we feel in recent games that if officials’ decisions had been better, we would have gone on to get wins.
“Our form probably hasn’t been indicated in points as such, but we feel in recent games that if officials’ decisions had been better, we would have gone on to get wins.
“We’re on the back of a very good performance at the Emirates Stadium last week, and there is that confidence in the team.
“We’ll go into the game in very confident mood because, around here, the spirit has been very good. We have to capitalise on that.”
Reading, however, will still be buzzing after their 0-0 draw with Liverpool last weekend. The Royals earned their first point under new manager Nigel Adkins, and Reading know how important this game is if they are to avoid the dreaded drop back to the Championship.
"I think irrespective of change in anything, or change of the manager, of course they’re going to be fighting,” Hughton added. “They’re a very proud football club and they’re a good team. They’ve found out how difficult it is in this division, as we all have.
“Nigel Adkins has implemented a little bit of a different style, and they’ll be excited by the prospect of having got a result against Liverpool. Ultimately, this is probably a game they need to win.”
Hughton also commented about John Ruddy's fitness, stating that a late decision would be made after he came through two development games, as well as Bradley Johnson, who suffered a dead leg during last Saturday's 3-1 defeat away at Arsenal.
“These are decisions that we have to make, but what is very important for us is that John will continue to put himself in contention by the fact that he is training and he’s played two games,” he said.
“We’re also conscious that he’s been out a long time. At the moment, we’ve got a goalkeeper in Mark Bunn who has done very well. We’ll make that decision over the next day or so.
“We’re also hoping Bradley Johnson is going to be fit enough to feature.”
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