Bassong aims to curb Benteke threat

Sebastien Bassong will be ready to adapt himself again as he looks to shackle Aston Villa's Christian Benteke and help Norwich secure their Premier League status.

Christian Benteke

Belgian frontman Benteke crashed in a hat-trick as Villa thumped Sunderland 6-1 on Monday night to move five points clear of the drop-zone.

Norwich head into the showdown with former manager Paul Lambert on 38 points, and needing at least one more win from their final three games, two of which are at home, to avoid being dragged into a late scrap for survival.

Cameroon centre-back Bassong, who has shaken off an ankle problem, is relishing the duels ahead.

He said: "Benteke is a good player. There are a lot of good players in the Premier League and week in, week out we play against one or two great strikers, so Benteke is another one we have to deal with.

"If you're going to be a good defender you are going to have to play against all types of strikers.

"Benteke is big, but he is good with his feet. (Luis) Suarez is shorter, but he is quicker. They all have different strengths and I have to adapt myself."

Villa have won three of their past seven to put some daylight between themselves and 18th-placed Wigan, who have played a match less.

Norwich, meanwhile, have crept towards the 40-point mark, with wins difficult to come by following a superb 10-match unbeaten run earlier in the season.

Nevertheless, Chris Hughton's side remain hard to beat at home, with only Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City having left Norfolk with all three points this season.

Bassong, brought in from Tottenham during the summer, feels Norwich's approach has remained constant, even if their form has not.

He said: "We knew we had to keep working really hard, even harder, because when you are unbeaten for 10 games, people might think we have become really good players and we have not got to work.

"But no, we still have to work, that is why we are here, now we are going to keep working.

"We are still the same team. We work hard all together, there is no star in the team, so all together we can do something."

Bassong, though, accepts the Canaries must develop a ruthless streak at both ends, having netted only 33 times - the second lowest in the league - with a difference of minus 21.

"As much as you want to improve, you have to be consistent and at some point we have to score and not concede goals," said the centre-back.

"If we want to improve ourselves we have got to be more effective in the final third and in both ends of the pitch.

"That is something we've been working on all season and I think day by day we are going to get better."

Hughton could recall fit-again goalkeeper John Ruddy on Saturday, following his five-month rehabilitation from thigh surgery, while forward Kei Kamara will play the last game of his allotted loan from Major League Soccer.

Whatever XI personnel the Norwich manager selects, Hughton expects them to put a shift in.

"We approach every single game the same, in the sense that we want to win every game," said the Norwich manager, whose side were beaten 4-1 at home by Villa in their Capital One Cup quarter-final in December.

"We just have to concentrate very much on is ourselves and what we are prepared to put in to try and win the football match."



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