Hucks: Top four don't play with the rest of us

PUBLISHED: 11:56 16 February 2007 | UPDATED: 10:05 14 September 2010

Norwich City man-of-the-moment Darren Huckerby gave a damning indictment of Premiership football as the gap between the rich and the poor grows ever wider.

Norwich City man-of-the-moment Darren Huckerby gave a damning indictment of Premiership football as the gap between the rich and the poor grows ever wider.

The 30-year-old insisted that tomorrow's FA Cup tie against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge is not a true representation of what life is like in the Premier League and said that “real Premiership football” comes against teams at the lower end of the top flight.

“You don't play against Chelsea every week. There's a select few teams that are better than everybody else, even in the Premier League,” he said.

“Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea - they are much, much better than every other team in the Premier League. So it's not a real taste of Premiership football.

“Real Premiership football comes against your Fulhams, the Wigans - they are the teams you've got a chance against. Not many teams go to Chelsea and beat them.

“It's the way football is now. If somebody came to try and buy Norwich for silly amounts of money the fans would be loving it because it means they can go and buy more players.”

Huckerby, the competition's joint top-scorer with five goals, is looking forward to tomorrow's tie against Jose Mourinho's side but added that he does not think that skipper Adam Drury will be holding the FA Cup aloft at the new Wembley in May.

“It's a big game - it's great for the fans but realistically we're not going to win the cup,” he said. “It's not going to happen. We're going to give it our best shot but as the last 20 years have proven - all the best teams win it - that's just life.”

Huckerby has enjoyed success against Chelsea in the past while he was at Coventry alongside Dion Dublin and manager Peter Grant will be looking for the old double act to do the business again on the King's Road.

“I've scored against them a couple of times for Coventry and me and Dion beat them when I was at there,” he said. “We played them on the opening day of the season for two seasons running.

“That's different though, they are a totally different set-up from when we used to play against them. They've now got the top players in the world for every position.

“I don't think they've lost at home. We've got to be smart about this and make sure we get through the game and then get back to business on Tuesday.”

Huckerby is one of few Norwich City players guaranteed to start against the Premiership champions as boss Peter Grant is faced with a series of selection posers.

Apart from Robert Earnshaw, Luke Chadwick and Matthieu Louis-Jean, Grant has a full squad to choose from although Ryan Jarvis can be added to the list after joining Leyton Orient yesterday on a month's loan.

New Scottish duo Mark Fotheringham and Simon Lappin are available once more after being ineligible for selection in the last round and both will be pushing for starting places.

Dion Dublin will be given as long as possible to recover from 120 minutes of action against Blackpool in mid-week as will other players who completed the full match.

Meanwhile, Grant's opposite number, Mourinho, has an embarrassment of riches to choose from.

Petr Cech, John Terry, Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba, Michael Essien and Andriy Shevchenko are all likely starters for the Premiership champions.

Fringe players like Shaun Wright-Phillips, John Obi Mikkel and Salomon Kalou may also be given the opportunity to shine against the Canaries.

Definitely out is England left back Ashley Cole and his namesake Joe. German international midfielder Michael Ballack is unlikely to start after recovering from a groin injury, and will probably be kept in reserve for Chelsea's Champions League tie against Porto next week.

The game against Mourinho's former side may mean the likes of Claude Makelele and Arjen Robben could also be rested and the 'Special One' may choose to rest more first teamers with the European adventure high on his list of priorities.

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