Popular Edworthy in unhappy return

PUBLISHED: 09:17 20 February 2006 | UPDATED: 09:13 14 September 2010

CHRIS LAKEY

Marc Edworthy's name rang out from the terraces before the game - and at times during it - but there was no disguising the disappointment felt by the popular former Norwich favourite after his Derby side's defeat at Carrow Road on Saturday.

Marc Edworthy's name rang out from the terraces before the game - and at times during it - but there was no disguising the disappointment felt by the popular former Norwich favourite after his Derby side's defeat at Carrow Road on Saturday.

Edworthy was a popular player during his two-year stint at City and is close friends with Darren Huckerby, the man he was detailed to mark on Saturday.

The two clearly shared the odd joke during the 90 minutes, but that's as far as it went as Huckerby proved to devastating effect that there is no place for sympathy in the game of football.

It was the Canaries favourite who walked off with the man-of-the-match champagne after his tremendous goal put the game out of Derby's reach. But Huckerby's tongue-in-cheek assertion that it was a "Zinedine Zidane" moment - rather than a fortuitous toucb with his right foot - that teed the ball up for a left-foot crack, was cutting no ice with Edworthy.

"You're having a laugh," was Edworthy's stunned reaction. He knows better, though: Huckerby was on fire, and that sort of mercurial performance always brings out the best of him when facing the media later.

"Hucks is a good friend and is a livewire," said Edworthy. "I think the goal he scored at the end - and I've just had a word with him in the dressing room - sometimes it hits your shin, and that's what happened.

"It took a bobble and when things are going for you that's what happens and it ends up in the top corner."

Edworthy recognised the friendly banter for what it was - and Huckerby's all-round performance for what it did to Derby.

"I know what he's capable of," said Edworthy. "You are always going to have a tough time against him. When he gets on the ball the fans get on their feet. We had a good battle back there, he showed some good bits and ended up with a good goal."

It was all a far cry from Pride Park in December when, with Huckerby sidelined because of an ankle injury, Derby recorded the same scoreline, in their favour, in a match they largely dominated.

"They came to our place and we were on top, we have come here and they were on top," admitted Edworthy.

It could have been very different had Adam Bolder not squandered a terrific opportunity midway through the second half when he punched on a mistake by Zesh Rehman only to loop the ball over Robert Green and the cross bar when an equaliser looked inevitable.

"Norwich dominated at vital times," said Edworthy. "If you look at the chance we had on 76 minutes; that could change the whole course of the game, that can make it 1-1. Who knows, we can go on and win it, but that has been the story of our season.

"We have huffed and puffed in stages of the game and we have been inconsistent."

Derby's battle is now against relegation, while Norwich have a very hopeful eye on the play-offs.

"They are nine points off so they will want a good run and I am sure they are capable of doing it, but it's going to be tough because it's a tough league to do it in," said Edworthy.

A year ago and Edworthy would have been contemplating what the future held for City - instead, as he hopped on Derby's team bus he knew that the reception he was afforded by Norwich fans gave him, at least, something to remember the day by.

"It's nice to get that," he said. "I had a lot of respect for the fans while I was here and there's still that feeling between us. But they are the winners at the end of the day because they have gone home with the three points."

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