Ricky van Wolfswinkel will adapt quickly to Premier League expects Norwich manager Chris Hughton

The £8m signing is expected to spearhead the Canaries' front line

Norwich manager Chris Hughton has backed striker Ricky van Wolfswinkel to adapt swiftly to the Barclays Premier League and lead the Canaries' bid for progress.

Hughton's men tonight play Braga in a pre-season friendly which sees Van Wolfswinkel return to Portugal, where he scored freely for Sporting Lisbon before his £8.5million move to Carrow Road.

The Dutchman is still to get off the mark for his new club, but an expectant public saw flashes of his ability during an open training session yesterday, and will hope he can hit the ground running in the Premier League at home to Everton on August 17.

"He's a player that's always scored goals, but this is the toughest league to do it in," Hughton said.

"It's been tough for him in pre-season so far. We've had some tough games.

"It's a great challenge for him. That's the reason why we brought him in.

"His character can handle it and it's up to him to make sure that he's putting himself in the right positions and the right frame of mind to give himself an opportunity.

"He's certainly one that will get himself into the box. He is one who likes to run in beyond.

"But we've got to give him opportunities as well."

Van Wolfswinkel is one of seven signings so far this summer as Hughton overhauls his squad.

After 12th and 11th-placed finishes in the last two seasons, the Canaries boss is eager for progress to be made this term, but accepts staying in the top flight is the over-riding objective.

"We're still a club that's developing," Hughton said.

"This will be our third season back in the Premier League. We've had two very good seasons in this division, but this season - irrespective of what we've brought in - will start just as hard as last season started.

"It's still making sure we start next season's Premier League in the division - that's always the objective - but we want to make progress."

Meanwhile, the club yesterday allowed central defender Leon Barnett to join Wigan for an undisclosed fee.

The 27-year-old completed a medical at the DW Stadium yesterday afternoon and became the Latics' ninth summer signing, penning a three-year deal.

"To see the desire Leon has to play for Wigan Athletic is tremendous and we're all delighted to have enticed a player of his calibre to our club," boss Owen Coyle said.

PA

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