Hughton hopeful over Hooper return

Norwich expect to be able to call upon Gary Hooper at Crystal Palace despite the striker being taken off with a muscle complaint against Manchester United.

he Norwich City manager Chris Hughton

The 25-year-old arrived from Celtic in the summer for a fee in the region of £5million and, after a slow start to life at Carrow Road, has scored five goals in his last nine matches.

Hooper was unable to find the net in his last outing against the champions, being replaced in the 69th minute of the 1-0 defeat due to muscle tightness.

However, manager Chris Hughton says it was only a precautionary substitution and one which is unlikely to see the forward miss Wednesday's trip to Palace.

"At the moment, he's okay," the Canaries boss said. "It was very much a precaution.

"It was something he flagged up to us at half-time and we needed to be sure that he was going to be okay.

"He was in yesterday and he was fine. They didn't train today because they were having a recovery session and then we expect him to train tomorrow.

"Jonny Howson is a doubt as he has been for the last couple of games, but we're giving him every opportunity to come through."

The availability of Hooper and Howson would be a big boost for Norwich, who travel to south London after back-to-back home defeats to Fulham and United.

Those results stretched the Canaries' winless streak to four matches and means resurgent Palace can draw level on points with them should they win at Selhurst Park.

"I can understand the terminology of a 'six-pointer' and I suppose any game with a team around can be called that," Hughton said ahead of the clash with Tony Pulis' side.

"But I think with the way the league is at the moment there will be a lot of games that could be called that.

"We are on the back of a very good performance if not result against Manchester United, but we're very conscious of the league position we are in and it's of course a position which we'd prefer not to be in.

"There's always an opportunity, though, and the next one is a game away to Crystal Palace on Wednesday, and we will be endeavouring and giving everything to win the game."

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