Football - Hughton backs Van Wolfswinkel

Norwich boss Chris Hughton admits the lack of goals from club-record signing Ricky van Wolfswinkel is a worry but is backing the Holland international to break his duck sooner rather than later.

PA Sport Report

Signed from Sporting Lisbon in the summer, Van Wolfswinkel introduced himself to Carrow Road with a goal on his debut in a 2-2 draw with Everton on the opening day of the season.

He has not hit the back of the net since and after missing a chunk of games with a toe injury is continuing his quest to add to his solitary goal.

Fellow summer recruit Gary Hooper is the only other forward to find the net in the Barclays Premier League since the draw with the Toffees as both Luciano Becchio and loanee Johan Elmander have drawn blanks so far.

But Hughton has backed Van Wolfswinkel to break his barren spell and, following Saturday's 1-0 win over Hull, was full of praise for the 24-year-old's commitment.

"He is very confident," said Hughton.

"He's someone who is used to scoring goals. He is playing in a different league - sometimes that takes a little bit longer.

"The three months he's had out certainly can't help a new striker coming into the division. But he's a confident player and he's a worker - provided he continues to do that he'll be fine.

"Of course it's a concern. We want to be winning football matches. The two individuals [Van Wolfswinkel and Hooper] are working very hard.

"Sometimes with strikers it can be a fluky goal that sets off a decent run for them. If we've got strikers that are endeavouring to do well and working hard, then you're always confident it will come."

Hughton has come under fire from Norwich fans for not fielding two strikers for much of the campaign.

He has started to link Hooper and Van Wolfswinkel in recent weeks but conceded playing a forward duo is a tough call to make.

"They are two players who are used to scoring," he added.

"It is a decision to play two up. But it is a very difficult formation to play, which is why there aren't too many teams that will play two out and out strikers.

"It is trying to develop that and getting the right formulas and the right players around them.

"It has been disappointing, but they're working as hard as they can to turn that round. And what you have to remember with Ricky is after coming, starting well, and at a time right now where he might be in full flow, he's had a three-month period out of the game, which is a big blow for him."

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