Huckerby was fit on Saturday - Roeder

PUBLISHED: 08:44 04 February 2008 | UPDATED: 15:23 10 September 2010

Chris Lakey

Darren Huckerby's career as a Norwich City player is in danger of coming to an ignominious end. The 31-year-old winger, who has been hampered by a hip injury since the summer, was left out of the 16-man squad for Saturday's win over Preston for tactical, rather than fitness, reasons.

Darren Huckerby's career as a Norwich City player is in danger of coming to an ignominious end.

The 31-year-old winger, who has been hampered by a hip injury since the summer, was left out of the 16-man squad for Saturday's win over Preston for tactical, rather than fitness, reasons.

“He was fit - he just wasn't selected,” said manager Glenn Roeder, who has named him in his starting line-up just once in the last five games.

“There is loads of competition now down the left side, especially with Kieran Gibbs here as well. He can play left back and wide on the left - he's one of Arsene's highly-talented young players, one of the youngest he has got, but huge things are expected of Kieran.”

Another teenager, Ryan Bertrand, started wide left, the position Huckerby has made his own over the past four years, with 18-year-old Gibbs a spectator - for the time being.

“As I said to the two boys who never even made the bench today, Alex Pearce and Kieran Gibbs, they are here to play,” said Roeder. “After I named the team and subs I took them into my office and said, 'you are not here to be on the bench, you are here to play, but we have only had you for one day, show a little bit more patience', which is not a problem for them, 'and you will be playing'.”

With another left-sided player, Matty Pattison, on the bench against Preston, Huckerby could find himself fourth in the pecking order - a stunning fall from grace for a player who has been regarded as the team's talisman since his arrival from Manchester City on Boxing Day, 2003.

It was a season which ended in the glory of promotion to the Premier League, but while Huckerby was the golden boy under the reign of Nigel Worthington, he found himself criticised Peter Grant - even though he almost single-handedly staved off the threat of relegation in the second half of last season.

Now, under Roeder, Huckerby finds his City future hanging by a thread - his contract, which is likely to make him the club's highest-paid player, is up in the summer, with Roeder putting talks on hold until City's position in the league is safer.

In the meantime, Huckerby is the subject of much media speculation about his next move. His agent, Phil Smith, claims he will leave Carrow Road in the summer, with the North American Soccer League a possible next stop, although Huckerby last week distanced himself from the comments.

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