December 26, 2012
Holt set for City return
Team Stat Comparison
|Goals for *||1.3||1.8|
|Goals against *||1.1||1.2|
|Last 5 home||W-L-W-D-D||W-D-W-W-W|
|Last 5 away||W-L-L-L-D||W-W-D-W-L|
|* Goals per match - home matches for home club and away matches for away club|
|Stats: Norwich City | Chelsea|
|3/8||H: Stoke City||3/8||H: Tottenham Hotspur|
|3/15||A: Southampton||3/15||A: Aston Villa|
|3/22||H: Sunderland||3/22||H: Arsenal|
|3/29||A: Swansea City||3/29||A: Crystal Palace|
|4/5||H: West Bromwich Albion||4/5||H: Stoke City|
Grant Holt is back in training after overcoming a hamstring injury and is set for a return to the Norwich side for their Boxing Day clash with Chelsea.
But City will be without defender Steven Whittaker, who suffered a recurrence of a hip injury when the Canaries' 10-match unbeaten run in the Barclays Premier League was ended at West Brom on Saturday.
Russell Martin is in line to replace Whittaker at the back while Holt is expected to return up front in place of Steve Morison.
Ryan Bennett is also back in training and manager Chris Hughton is positive about his chances of featuring against either Chelsea or Manchester City on December 29.
Hughton is braced for a "formidable'' challenge from a Chelsea side he believes could still be in the hunt for the title.
The Canaries were beaten 4-1 at Stamford Bridge earlier this season and they face Chelsea just three days after the Blues stunned Aston Villa 8-0.
The Chelsea supporters may not be entirely convinced by manager Rafael Benitez, but Hughton agrees with the Spaniard that their title bid is not over yet.
Chelsea are third in the league, 11 points behind leaders Manchester United and seven behind Manchester City with a game in hand.
"They have great attacking options. We experienced that at their place a couple of months ago,'' Hughton said.
"Victor Moses is starting to show his real quality now. Fernando Torres is hitting very good form.
"The fact they kept a clean sheet against Aston Villa as well shows the quality and depth they have throughout the squad.
"David Luiz playing in midfield is a role everybody felt was a role he could do and he showed some real quality.
"They are fairly formidable. They are placed very well in the league with a game in hand. They are still in the Capital One Cup with a great chance to progress (to the final).
"At the moment Chelsea are on a high and he [Benitez] will be judged on that.
"He will perhaps look at the two teams above them at the moment and think `will they go through the season without dropping points?'
"That is very difficult. Swansea showed against Manchester United that everybody is fighting. If they (Chelsea) put a good run together then everything is possible.''
Benitez looks set to be without Chelsea captain John Terry again.
Terry is still suffering inflammation on his knee following surgery and is unlikely to be fit at Carrow Road.
Ryan Bertrand also remains a doubt after he was forced off in Wednesday's Capital One Cup quarter-final at Leeds and was not included in Sunday's line-up against Aston Villa.
Benitez is refusing to dismiss Chelsea's hopes of winning the title despite the sizeable gap between themselves and leaders Manchester United.
Asked if he will tell his players they can still win the league, Benitez said: "We will see after two or three more games.
"You could see the team had confidence in themselves, they believed, and that was there to the end.
"They had good movements, created chances. Now we have to sustain this run and it will be easier for me to say we can compete.''