But he warns they're still not safe from the drop this season.
Norwich lie seven points and six places ahead of Wigan, who are third from bottom, but Hughton said: "As regards managing expectations, what makes it easier is that we have eight big games before we will see a sight of him (Van Wolfswinkel).
"It has shown the ambition of the board but we need to make sure that all our efforts and concentrations are for this period of time.
"Ricky is very enthusiastic and knew a lot about the club. He knew the history of the club and where they want to go.
"He has a wonderful goals record. We all know how difficult it is to bring in the right players and goals are so difficult to come by. He is a player who because of his age still has improvement in him.
"But we've got eight games to go and we have to make sure we get enough points to stay in the Premier League. This is where we want to be. You could look anywhere from Stoke downwards, the top 10 or 11 teams cannot guarantee safety."