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Norwich 0-0 Fulham Prem26 1213 The Guardian

last updated Monday 11th February 2013, 2:19 PM
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The Guardian

Norwich (0) 0 Fulham (0) 0

Chris Hughton hopes a warm-weather training break will help to reinvigorate Norwich City's season after labouring through a goalless draw with Fulham. Hughton's side have scored only once in their past six games and have not won in the league in their last nine attempts.

Having also been knocked out of the FA Cup by non-league Luton Town, Norwich must wait a fortnight before they play again when Everton visit Carrow Road, and Hughton intends to make the most of the club's four-day trip to Abu Dhabi.

"It has been difficult for us because Norfolk has been hit a bit heavier than most with the weather. We have had a few days where we have struggled to get them on to the training pitch," he said. "So we are looking forward to a good few days training on some decent surfaces. "We have had periods of playing good attacking football and being solid at the back, as well as being open," said Hughton, who had guided his team to a superb 11-match unbeaten league run through from mid-October until just before Christmas.

"We are certainly looking more solid as a team but probably just lacking flair in that final third."

After a back spasm on the morning of the match ruled out the Norwich captain Grant Holt, Hughton handed a home debut to his deadline-day signing Luciano Becchio and, despite a blank start, the Norwich manager has every confidence the Argentinian forward will flourish if his team can find the right supply line. "Becchio is a strong player and good in the air, someone who relies on the service," Hughton said. "If he gets that in and around the box, he can score goals."

Norwich also brought in the Sierra Leone forward Kei Kamara during the January window, with international clearance on a loan move from his American club Sporting Kansas City having come through early last week.

While Hughton accepts it will take the 28-year-old some time to work on his match fitness, the signs are positive following an energetic late cameo role against Fulham. "For us it is about getting Kamara up to speed but I liked what I saw and he certainly will give us a different dimension."

Martin Jol did not look too upset with a point, admitting it had been a difficult buildup, with the Costa Rica forward Bryan Ruiz arriving back late from international duty. The Bulgaria defender Stanislav Manolev, signed on loan from PSV Eindhoven, had to travel to Norwich from London on Saturday morning. They also had to deal with a sickness bug which saw Sascha Riether and Chris Baird sent home, while Manolev and Emmanuel Frimpong - on loan from Arsenal - made their debuts.

With Fulham also out of the FA Cup, the Fulham manager hopes his squad can make good use of their two-week break before hosting Stoke. "It was the first time he [Frimpong] had to play with Sidwell so that was not ideal, but we still looked OK," Jol said. "Hopefully in the next two weeks we can do a lot on the training pitch with our new players."

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