NORWICH manager Chris Hughton always felt Gus Poyet was cut out to make the transition into management – but he will be all set to halt Sunderland’s Barclays Premier League revival before it can get started at the Stadium of Light on Saturday.
Hughton – who coached Poyet when they worked together at Tottenham – feels the 46-year-old has all the traits to become a successful manager, but will be out to use his own experiences to record another positive result for the Canaries.
“Gus was a wonderful player, but was always very passionate about the way he played the game and his thoughts on the game, so it was no surprise to me that he went into coaching and management,” Hughton said.
“The biggest task for him at Sunderland was he had a lot of players who had been brought in during the summer by the previous manager.
“Gus’ responsibility now will be to put his own stamp on the team and I am quite sure he will do that.”
Hughton added: “Sunderland will be boosted to have got through to the semi-finals of the League Cup, but we have to look at ourselves.
“We are on the back of a good performance against Swansea, when we looked to win the game after going a goal down, and also off a good away result at West Brom, so we want to keep the momentum ourselves.”
After a terrible opening to the new season, which saw six defeats from 10 Premier League matches, and heavy defeats away to both Manchester City and then Liverpool, Norwich have in recent weeks started to produce encouraging displays.
Indeed three points at Sunderland could lift the Canaries up into the top half of the table, but Hughton knows there has to be a sense of caution as they go in search of a second straight away win.
“It is always a balance, because you know they have enough good players that if you do not perform, they can hurt you,” the Norwich manager added.
“You have to be in the game yourself and give yourself an opportunity to win it.
“You have to set your team up knowing you are away from home, so you have to be resilient enough not to conceded, but also you have to score goals to win it.”
Hughton - who spent some £20million in the summer to bolster his squad - will have more attacking options now club-record signing Ricky van Wolfswinkel is finally fit from a toe problem while Scotland winger Robert Snodgrass has shrugged of his knee injury.
Sweden forward Johan Elmander has impressed with his work-rate alongside in-form Gary Hooper, whose fine 30-yard half-volley helped earn a point against Swansea last weekend.
The change in formation has seen chances for Wes Hoolahan limited.
Hughton, though, retains full confidence in the Irish playmaker, who helped drive Norwich up from League One.
“Wes is a super player and it has been difficult for him this season because he has not played the amount of games he would have liked,” said Hughton, who took over from Paul Lambert in the summer of 2012.
“His best position is most definitely in a more central position where he can affect the game,
“What I did do in the Crystal Palace game was play him narrow on the right side, and he performed very well on the day, so there is no doubt there is flexibility in his game.”