Huckerby hails Duff

PUBLISHED: 12:30 24 July 2006 | UPDATED: 09:31 14 September 2010

Damien Duff's arrival at Newcastle was today hailed as a great signing by another former St James' Park winger - Darren Huckerby. And Huckerby is hoping the Chelsea star's big money move north will give friend and colleague Craig Fleming's testimonial match a big shot in the arm.

Damien Duff's arrival at Newcastle was today hailed as a great signing by another former St James' Park winger - Darren Huckerby.

And Huckerby is hoping the Chelsea star's big money move north will give friend and colleague Craig Fleming's testimonial match a big shot in the arm.

Newcastle visit Carrow Road on Wednesday (7.45pm) for Fleming's big night with Duff likely to be on board.

The 27-year-old Republic of Ireland international passed a medical on Tyneside while the first team were on their way back from Norway after beating Lillestrom in a UEFA Cup qualifying round tie.

Duff has signed a five-year contract, with the fee undisclosed but understood to be in the region of £10million, and he was set to be introduced to the media today.

“Damien Duff is a great player,” said Huckerby, who spent 12 months as a Newcastle player from November 1995 after signing from Lincoln for £500,000.

“He's won the league twice in the last two years with Chelsea. He's a very, very dangerous left-winger and I'm quite surprised Chelsea let him go, to be honest, but that's Newcastle's gain.”

Huckerby said of his St James' Park days: “I was only there about a year, just when they were flying. We were first in the Premier League. We got pipped by Manchester United at the time. I didn't really play, I was a kid at the time but I learned from some of the best players around - Peter Beardsley, Alan Shearer, Les Ferdinand, David Ginola. What I learned mostly from them was the professionalism you've got to attain. These players were great players but they also worked very hard so that's one thing I learned from my days at Newcastle.”

He described Wednesday's match as “a massive occasion” for 34-year-old club captain Fleming.

He said: “You don't often see players staying at a club for 10 years, especially not a player who's played as many games as Flem. “He's averaged 40 games a season while he's been here, which is a remarkable achievement, and let's hope the fans turn out in force for a true great of the last 10 years. He's played under a lot of managers, he's seen it all, done it all and he's also won the league title while he's been here, so I think he deserves a good turnout.

“He's been a great captain since I've been here and a great player. I sit next to him every day so a lot of banter flies. He's a true professional. He's always one of the first ones at training and one of the last ones to leave, he always does his bits and bobs down at Greens health club, and he deserves a great night.

“The lads are looking forward to it, it will be a step up in opposition and we'll be looking to win the game.”

Tickets for Craig Fleming's testimonial are on sale with adult prices from £12, over-60s from £7, student (with valid ID) from £7, under-16s from £7 and under-12s from £3. Telephone the Carrow Road box office on 0870 444 1902 for details.

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