Chris Hughton sees reason for optimism at Norwich City ahead of Premier League clash with Cardiff City

The Canaries boss is hoping for another unbeaten run similar to last season's 10-match streak

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The Independent Football

Manager Chris Hughton maintains Norwich are better off than where they were last season despite losing five of their opening eight Barclays Premier League games as the Canaries look to drag themselves out of the bottom three with victory over Cardiff at Carrow Road.

Norwich were beaten 4-1 at Arsenal last time out, but the final scoreline does not tell the whole story of the match, during which Hughton's side were only overrun by the league leaders after he made a positive change in formation when they had fought back to 2-1 with 20 minutes left through Jonny Howson.

Before the international break, a late two-goal burst from Chelsea saw the Canaries lose 3-1 at home in a game where Blues manager Jose Mourinho admitted he could "smell danger" as Norwich pressed on for a winner having drawn level in the second half.

Hughton now hopes his side, which could see club-record signing Ricky van Wolfswinkel return from a foot injury, can translate those positive spells into points on the board.

"One of the plusses is that we are in good form at the moment. We have been beaten in the last two games by top teams who will both be pushing for the league title, but we have played well in spells," said Hughton, who took his side on a fine 10-match unbeaten league run midway through the campaign to eventually finish 11th after another dip in form.

"We felt we should have got something more from particularly the Chelsea match, so if you keep that belief and keep playing in that vein results will turn.

"If I look at our position this time last season, we are a point better off. We then went on a good run that carried us up the table and that is the game.

"When you are playing with confidence you have to try and get results.

"You see Fulham winning a couple of days ago and it lifts them a few places up the table."

Cardiff are managed by former Norwich defender Malky Mackay, who has overseen wins against Manchester City and Fulham, but his side sit just one place and a point above the Canaries.

Hughton added at a press conference: "We have got a really good group. We haven't felt the need to change anything in respect of what we are doing in training.

"They have an excellent work ethic and they are focused on turning things around. We are confident about what we do and we will go into Saturday's game looking to win."

Norwich's inconsistency has proved a source of frustration for supporters, who have not been shy in letting the players know.

Scotland winger Robert Snodgrass accepts he has to improve his own personal form, but maintains the squad do have what it takes to complete a third campaign in the top flight.

"I will roll my sleeves up and keep pushing and I don't care what people say," he said.

"My form has been a bit up and down to be honest. I have been so close to maybe three or four goals and then I could be in a different situation.

"I feel I am getting in the right positions and my physical stats are good.

"The fans see what the club have spent and they have a right to criticise, but I can promise them there is so much hard work going on behind the scenes.

"We are a young squad with not a lot of old heads and we are striving every day to do the best for Norwich City.

"We know this is a fantastic club and a great set of fans, but we also have a great set of players and I believe in them.

"When it comes together we will start to pick up results."