Hughton plots to keep Norwich in the Premier League

Chris Hughton's Canaries are just three points above 18th-placed Wigan having played a game more than the Latics. Photo: PA

Norwich manager Chris Hughton admits he is in for some sleepless nights this week as he tries to work out a way of keeping his team in the Barclays Premier League.

The Canaries were moments away from securing a hard-fought 1-1 draw at home to Aston Villa yesterday before Gabriel Agbonlahor rolled in a last-minute winner which lifted the visitors up on to 40 points and left the Norfolk club just three above the drop zone, having played a match more than 18th-placed Wigan.

After going unbeaten for 10 games at the end of 2012, Norwich have managed to win just twice in this year, which has seen them fall back into the battle for survival.

Norwich are at home to West Brom next weekend and then head to Manchester City on the final day.

The club announced last night that the planned end of season dinner for Monday night had been cancelled to focus everyone's mind on the job in hand.

Hughton knows the pressure is on to rediscover all the things which had helped beat the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United earlier in the campaign.

"It is hurting at the moment and there won't be much sleep over the next day or so, but we have to bounce back," said Hughton, who took over following Paul Lambert's departure for Villa in the summer

"We are all in the same boat as managers. We of course have sleepless nights over results and the team you are going to pick and your form. Unfortunately it is part and parcel of the game.

"I go through all the torments. The next couple of days are not going to be particularly good days for me, and I wouldn't expect it to be for any of the players.

"But we have to bounce back and the only way to put ourselves in a position to get a result on Sunday is to make sure that we clear this one as quickly as we can."

Hughton is expecting a response from his players against West Brom when, depending on results elsewhere, victory could leave the Canaries safe.

"I certainly won't shy away from anything, whether that's criticism from whoever or wherever," said Hughton.

"My only thought at this moment is to try to put this bad result to bed and making sure that I put a team out next week that's motivated and has a great desire to make sure that we achieve what we need to achieve.

"We are all in this together and we want to keep pushing forward as a club.

"We are going to have to be very strong mentally this week and come out fighting on Sunday."

Hughton must also now decide whether to throw England keeper John Ruddy back into action after five months out following thigh surgery in an attempt to bolster the defence.

"It is a tough decision. John has been out for a long time and there are margins, particularly when it comes to goalkeepers, on sharpness because he wouldn't have had the experience of playing back in this sort of environment," he said.

"They are the fine lines you have to work around, but I have got some decisions to make now for next Sunday."