Windass out to ruin City's weekend

PUBLISHED: 12:33 03 April 2007 | UPDATED: 10:13 14 September 2010

Peter Grant suffered battle scars in past encounters with Dean Windass - and now the veteran warrior is out to ruin the City manager's Easter weekend.

Windass, who so nearly became a Norwich player 12 years ago in an on-off transfer saga that contributed to Martin O'Neill's resignation as boss at Carrow Road, will be gunning for the Canaries on Good Friday as he bids to take Hull City a step nearer Championship survival.

Peter Grant suffered battle scars in past encounters with Dean Windass - and now the veteran warrior is out to ruin the City manager's Easter weekend.

Windass, who so nearly became a Norwich player 12 years ago in an on-off transfer saga that contributed to Martin O'Neill's resignation as boss at Carrow Road, will be gunning for the Canaries on Good Friday as he bids to take Hull City a step nearer Championship survival.

The much-travelled forward was able to enjoy his 38th birthday on April Fools' Day, safe in the knowledge that his hat-trick in a 4-0 home win against Southend the previous day had pushed the Tigers five points clear of the bottom three with six matches to play.

Windass, on loan to his home city club from Bradford, reckons keeping Hull in the Championship would rank as the greatest achievement of his career.

And Grant, who played against Windass for three different clubs - for Celtic against Aberdeen, for Norwich against Oxford, and for Reading against Bradford - was first to pay tribute to the seasoned campaigner, who has played for seven clubs and scored well over 200 goals since he joined Hull for the first time in 1991.

Said Grant: “Dean's been about for a long time and great credit to him. He seems to have been a great influence in the games for Hull as soon as he went there.

“You want to have someone with his great enthusiasm and with all that experience.

“Dean is in the twilight of his career, but he appreciates every game. I'm trying to get that enthusiasm into players of 17, 18 or 19.

“He is another one like Dion Dublin and a great example to younger players.”

Grant admitted there had been one or two full-blooded encounters with Windass, north and south of the border.

He said: “He left me with six stitches in my shin once but perhaps he knew he was going to get that from me and decided to get his retaliation in first.

“But you don't play that number of games without looking after yourself well and Dean's done that all through his career. He has that mental strength. He knows what it takes to be at the top and still banging in goals in what is a very tough league in the Championship, and he's got the rewards for the way he's looked after himself.”

Windass was a £750,000 target for O'Neill in his six-month spell as City manager in 1995, but the deal never materialised and he moved instead to Aberdeen.

The collapse of the transfer played a part in O'Neill's resignation just a fortnight after the Dons clinched the deal.

Now Windass, who has scored seven times in 12 outings on loan to Hull since January, reckons survival will rank as the sweetest moment of his career.

“Everyone has goals in life and my goal, because I'm Hull City through and through, was to keep them up,” Windass said.

“It would be the biggest achievement in my career. One more goal will make it 20 for the season and that will be the fourth consecutive time I have scored 20 goals or more.

“I am not someone who would come here and embarrass myself.

“Paul Jewell (Wigan manager) had a go at me for not signing for him two years ago because I could not play at that level but the Championship is my level.”

Windass' hat-trick, along with a first Hull goal for Sam Ricketts, made it three wins in four games for the Tigers.

Friday's game at the KC Stadium kicks off at 3pm.

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