Hughton buckles up for a bumpy ride against old friend

Norwich coach hopes Cup tie against Luton will spark revival for Premier League side

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The Independent Football

Norwich City manager Chris Hughton always felt that the Luton Town manager, Paul Buckle, had the makings of a first-class coach, but is determined not to be a big-name scalp in their FA Cup tie at Carrow Road tomorrow.

Buckle played alongside Hughton at Brentford when the former Republic of Ireland defender was coming towards the end of his career.

The duo have maintained their friendship since, with Hughton going on to manage Newcastle United and Birmingham City before taking over at Norwich in the summer.

Luton of the Blue Square Premier pulled off a shock result when they beat Wolves 1-0 in the third-round.

Hughton, though, has no intentions of going the same way against his one-time team-mate tomorrow. "We played together and I followed his career, we have met quite often along the way and kept in contact," Hughton said. "Paul was always very enthusiastic and knowledgeable, so it is no surprise to see his path go into management so, aside from Saturday of course, I wish him all the best."

Although Hughton is set to make some changes today, as he did for the 3-0 third-round win at Peterborough, he will not be taking the Hatters' challenge lightly.

"Although Luton are a Conference team, they are a big name and a team with a very good history, they still get a very good support and at their level have very good players," he said.

"We are very conscious of what can happen, but it was the same when we played Peterborough in the last round. This is what cup football is all about and we have to be very guarded."

Norwich's win at London Road has been their only success in the last seven games, losing five in the Premier League in that poor run.

Hughton is seeking a positive reaction to last weekend's 5-0 mauling at Liverpool, which would set things up nicely for the visit of Tottenham on Wednesday night.

"We have been here before, as most clubs have been at our level. There is only one reaction you want and that is to bounce back from it," said Hughton, who will be looking for a repeat of the 11-match unbeaten league run which followed the team's terrible start to the season.

"We have already been on the back of a couple of big defeats this season and managed to [bounce back]. It is about knowing where you are and that occasionally these things are going to happen.

"Now it is about putting in performances that are going to get us through to the next round of the FA Cup and then some league points."