Norwich City manager Chris Hughton received a timely boost ahead of Sunday's home match against Swansea City with news that Canaries captain Sebastien Bassong had signed a new two-and-a-half-year contract to keep him at Carrow Road until 2016.
Bassong has had injury problems this season but looked sharp and commanding in recent matches.
"I'm really pleased it is something I have been looking forward to doing," the 27-year-old Cameroon international told his club's official website. "Being team captain I think it is something really important to commit myself even more to the club.
"I had a little bad time with my fitness, as people know I missed pre-season and I had a knee injury and an operation, so I needed time to get back to my best and while I wasn't playing I was working hard on my fitness, so now I feel better and am back on track."
Norwich (5-2-8) are 14th in the table on 17 points but have struggled for consistency. Having spent heavily on new players in the summer, Hughton's position at Carrow Road had come under fire as the club flirted with the relegation places. However, three victories in their last five league matches - including a 2-0 win at West Bromwich Albion last weekend - eased the pressure on the Canaries boss.
Swansea reached the last 32 of the Europa League despite a 1-0 defeat at St Gallen on Thursday night.
Swans midfielder Jonathan de Guzman hailed his side's European success but now wants to focus on domestic matters as the next round of Europa League isn't scheduled until late February.
"It was a relief to get through - now we can concentrate on the league for a while before our next game in the Europa League," he told his club's official website. "We could have made it a lot easier for ourselves in previous games. We could have qualified a lot earlier, but we didn't get the results we were looking for.
"But we will take a lot from the group stage matches. Each match had a different experience for us."
The Swans (5-4-6) have crept into the top half of the Premier League table and are currently 10th, two points and four places above Norwich. Michael Laudrup's men were held to a 1-1 draw at home by Hull City last Saturday but have lost only one of their last five top-flight matches.
Norwich striker Ricky van Wolfswinkel could feature against Swansea after resuming full training following a toe injury, but midfielders Robert Snodgrass (knee) and Anthony Pilkington (hamstring) remain sidelined.
Swansea full-back Angel Rangel could return after being out for two weeks with a calf problem. Chico Flores is suspended after picking up a fifth booking against Hull, but the Spanish centre-back would probably have missed the match anyway after suffering a knee injury against St Gallen.
Norwich took four points off Swansea last season, with 11 goals scored in the two matches. The Canaries held on for a 4-3 victory at the Liberty Stadium last season despite going 3-0 up in the first half through goals by Bassong, Steven Whittaker and Grant Holt. Swansea cut the lead back to one with strikes by Michu and De Guzman, but Snodgrass restored the two-goal lead 13 minutes from time. Michu scored a second in stoppage time to complete the scoring.
Both teams came from behind in a 2-2 draw at Carrow Road in April. Michu put the Swans in front after 35 minutes, but that lead lasted just five minutes as Snodgrass equalised. Michael Turner scored on the hour mark to put Norwich ahead before Luke Moore's strike 15 minutes from time leveled the score.
- Sports & Recreation
- Swansea City
- Sebastien Bassong