sport

Hughton wants more from Norwich

Manager Chris Hughton knows Norwich need to be a bit more creative if they are to get the results needed to stay in the Premier League.

The Canaries, who hold a six-point cushion over the bottom three, head into Saturday's clash against Everton at Carrow Road having lost just once in the last five league games.

However, four of those have been draws - and the last two goalless. Indeed, Hughton's men have scored just once in six outings, including a blank in their shock home FA Cup fourth-round defeat to Luton.

The Norwich manager accepts that will have to change if his men are to keep safe distance over the battle for survival.

"We have looked solid as a unit and I can't fault the lads' work ethic. Everybody is putting in a real shift for the team," said Hughton, whose side last won on December 15 against Wigan.

"But we perhaps just need to be that little bit more creative, we certainly need to be taking our chances and perhaps need to be a bit more of a threat in the final third."

Norwich will have captain Grant Holt available following the back problem which ruled him out against Fulham, when both January signings Luciano Becchio and Kei Kamara made their home debuts.

Hughton accepts the Canaries must make the most of their forward options.

"At points this season our attacking play has been good, but for a club like ours it is difficult to sustain that week-in-week-out in this league," said Hughton, who took his squad away to Abu Dhabi for some warm-weather training during their two-week break in Premier League action.

"There will be ups and downs. You just have to hope that when you get the good period you get the points to go with it.

"We need to make sure that the gap that we have had between ourselves and the bottom three is something we can maintain.

"We now have 12 games through until the end of the season, we perhaps need to start turning some of our draws into wins.

"It goes without saying most people look at that 40 point mark, and that is achievable."

Safe passage towards Premier League survival looked little short of a pipe dream earlier in the campaign following four defeats from the opening seven games.

However, a superb 10-match unbeaten run then saw the Canaries move quickly up the table, before hitting the buffers when they lost all four of the festive fixtures.

Hughton admits he would rather have steered the ship through calmer waters over the whole course of his first campaign at the helm.

"If I had a choice whether I would prefer the season to have been more consistent then yes I would," he said.

"I hope once we get that first win after this period, that it gives us the confidence to go and push on again."

It took a last-minute equaliser from centre-back Sebastien Bassong to maintain Norwich's unbeaten run with a 1-1 draw at Everton in November.

The Cameroon defender would settle for a similar late show tomorrow if it helps his team back to winning ways.

"If we have to defend for 90 minutes and put the ball in the net in the last minute, I will take that," he said.

"I don't mind how we're going to win games. If it is going to be a scrappy goal, I don't mind that because the only thing that matters for me is to get the three points at the end of the game."

Bassong added: "We have kept a lot of clean sheets and altogether we have got to try to be more effective in the final third, to put the ball in the net."