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May 6, 2013

Hughton concerned about relegation

Norwich boss Chris Hughton admits his side face an anxious fight for survival after being dragged into the Premier League relegation battle with a 2-1 defeat against Aston Villa on Saturday.

• Blog: Staring into abyss

The Canaries are just three points above 18th-placed Wigan, who are yet to play their game in hand, and a defeat this weekend against West Bromwich Albion could leave Hughton's side in the drop zone.

A final day trip to Manchester City gives Norwich cause for concern, with their fate potentially to be decided by the results of fellow strugglers.

Hughton expressed his frustration following the loss to Villa, claiming Norwich missed a prime chance to guarantee safety and he conceded the result makes this one of the toughest weeks of his career.

"It is hurting at the moment and there won't be much sleep over the next day or so, but we have to bounce back," he said. "We are all in the same boat as managers.

"We of course have sleepless nights over results and the team you are going to pick and your form. Unfortunately it is part and parcel of the game.

"I go through all the torments. The next couple of days are not going to be particularly good days for me, and I wouldn't expect it to be for any of the players.

"But we have to bounce back and the only way to put ourselves in a position to get a result on Sunday is to make sure that we clear this one as quickly as we can."

Hughton has urged his charges to put the weekend's result behind them and focus on digging themselves out of the relegation scrap with victory over West Brom, although the Englishman is willing to accept the blame for the Canaries' struggles.

"I certainly won't shy away from anything, whether that's criticism from whoever or wherever," he said. "My only thought at this moment is to try to put this bad result to bed and making sure that I put a team out next week that's motivated and has a great desire to make sure that we achieve what we need to achieve.

"We are all in this together and we want to keep pushing forward as a club. We are going to have to be very strong mentally this week and come out fighting on Sunday."

Goalkeeper John Ruddy has recovered from thigh surgery and is ready to return for Norwich, although Hughton has questioned whether the England international should be risked with just two games left in the season.

"It is a tough decision. John has been out for a long time and there are margins, particularly when it comes to goalkeepers, on sharpness because he wouldn't have had the experience of playing back in this sort of environment," the Norwich manager said.

"They are the fine lines you have to work around, but I have got some decisions to make now for next Sunday."

Information from the Press Association was used in this report.

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