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Norwich City have managed only one win in their last six Premier League outings and the Canaries are going to have to be careful they don’t get sucked into relegation dogfight when it comes to final weeks of the season.
Manager Chris Hughton and his men looked on course for three points on Sunday when they took the lead against Aston Villa thanks to a goal for Wes Hoolahan.
But a brace from Christian Benteke, a strike from Leandro Bacuna and an own-goal from Sebastian Bassong gave Villa a comfortable 4-1 win at Villa Park.
That defeat now leaves Norwich just four points away from the relegation zone and with it being so congested in the bottom half of the table, a number of teams look to be heading for a nervy May.
Pressure has been on Hughton’s shoulders for some time but the manager is staying cool ahead of their difficult clash with Stoke City at Carrow Road on Saturday.
He told Sky Sports: “The only way I can affect things is by getting the results we need.
“We are one of 10 teams in the bottom half of the table that has had difficulties at some stage.
“So all of my efforts and thoughts go into preparing the team, trying to do the best job I can, hoping to get good enough results.”
Hughton next task will be the encounter with the Potters, who go into this game on the back of a 1-0 victory over Arsenal.
Stoke are certainly more beatable away from the Britannia Stadium but the Potters at 3.28 for the win might well compound Norwich’s misery after that heavy defeat to Villa.