Chris Hughton says the return of Fredi Kanoute from international duty adds a real spice to competition for striking places in the team.
Fredi, now back from the African Cup of Nations where he netted four times for Mali, scored 12 times before heading to Tunisia and will now battle for a first team spot with Robbie Keane, Jermain Defoe and Helder Postiga when he returns to fitness following a hamstring injury.
Robbie has now overtaken Fredi’s domestic tally with 14 goals, while Jermain has netted four in three games since joining from West Ham, where he netted 15 this season before his switch to the Lane.
The pressure for places is now well and truly onÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¢ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…Â¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¬ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¦
“What is has done is put us in a position that we’ve always wanted to be in,” insisted Chris. “We’ve got competition for places, although Helder Postiga is injured at the moment, we can’t forget about him because he has been around for most of the season and is a quality player.
“We wanted real competition for forward places and, the fact that Jermain has come and started in the fashion he has, we have now got it.”
Having such high-calibre options can hardly make the selection process an easy one for any manager, but Chris explained the onus is on the players to demand their places by performances on the pitch. Performance related play, if you likeÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¢ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…Â¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¬ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¦
“It is as it should be, there should be that drive in every player on the park to want to play well and want to keep a place in the side. When you’ve got a player breathing down your neck, that desire to want to play becomes even greater.
“You know that the competition is there and you need to play well to keep a place in the side.”