1. ITV Report

Norwich City boss Chris Hughton confident no offence intended by Hoolahan 'non-celebration'

Wes Hoolahan is embraced by his teammates after scoring against Aston Villa. Photo: PA

Norwich City manager Chris Hughton says he's confident that Wes Hoolahan's muted reaction after scoring against Aston Villa wasn't meant to cause any offence.

The Irish playmaker handed the Canaries the lead in last weekend's disastrous 4-1 defeat at Villa Park, but opted not to celebrate.

Hoolahan's lack of celebration caused much debate. Credit: PA

Hoolahan has been a peripheral figure at Carrow Road this season, and hadn't started a game since the 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace on New Year's Day.

The 31-year-old was subject of a number of bids from Villa in the January transfer window, and Hoolahan himself submitted a transfer request in a bid to push through the move.

However, Norwich blocked any potential switch.

His actions in the defeat to Villa have resulted in questions being asked by the club's fans about the midfielder's commitment to the cause, but Hughton insists that they shouldn't be worried.

"Having spoken to Wes, I'm very clear and I'm very, very confident that there was absolutely nothing meant in it.

This is a lad that's had a tough time here in regards to playing games, he hasn't played the games that he would like as an experienced player and of course consequently he hasn't been able to score the goals he would have liked.

So, it was probably one that he almost forget how to celebrate."

– Chris Hughton, Norwich City Manager

Hoolahan will be hoping to keep his place in the Canaries team that takes to the field against Stoke City at Carrow Road on Saturday, in a game that could prove pivotal come the end of the campaign.

Only two points separate the sides in the Premier League table going into the clash, and Norwich could move ahead of their opponents with a win.

Jonny Howson's strike sealed a 1-0 win in the return fixture earlier in the season. Credit: PA

The fixture will be dedicated to former defender Duncan Forbes who is suffering with Alzheimer's disease, and sales from a specially produced match-day programme will be donated towards his care.

Canaries legend, Duncan Forbes. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Norwich should have defenders Joseph Yobo and Martin Olsson available after they were forced to miss international games in midweek, while striker Ricky van Wolfswinkel could also come back into contention.

Ricky van Wolfswinkel could make a return to action. Credit: PA

On-loan winger Jonás Gutiérrez and centre-back Michael Turner will once again miss out, as will Leroy Fer and Elliott Bennett.