A 'blatant' foul

CHRIS LAKEY Darren Huckerby launched a vigorous self-defence case after being accused of cheating his way to a penalty which earned Norwich three points on Saturday.


Darren Huckerby launched a vigorous self-defence case after being accused of cheating his way to a penalty which earned Norwich three points on Saturday.

The City flyer went tumbling under a challenge from Richard Stearman and referee Andy D'Urso immediately pointed to the spot, prompting some angry finger-pointing from Leicester players in Huckerby's direction.

The ill-feeling lasted until the final whistle as the current national obsession with diving made its inevitable way to Carrow Road, and while both managers were guarded in their post-match comments, Huckerby was in no mood to let the matter die without having his say.

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“It's not a controversy, it's a blatant penalty,” he said. “He didn't see me coming, I got there first and he made no attempt to get to the ball. He just kicked me in the calf. I don't know if he saw me or what but that's not my problem. The problem is, I am in the box and going past him and it's a clumsy challenge.

“If you are in the box, you can't just swing out and kick people in the box. Defending is about defending, that's why I am not a defender, because I can't do it, that's the whole reason. Defenders have to stay on their feet in the box, they can't just go kicking out willy-nilly, as simple as that.

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“People think they can boot you and get away with it and they can't. If I go past somebody and they foul me it's a foul, that's life.”

Huckerby is one of the most fouled players in the Championship, mainly because his sheer speed is so hard for the majority of defenders to handle.

“People can say what they want, but people just try to hack me all the way through the game,” he said. “They think it's okay, but it's my career on the line. I'm getting booted every single game. I have never had a problem being kicked - if someone fouls me it's a foul, simple as that.”

The incident happened with a little under a quarter of an hour left and Leicester's angry players didn't let the matter settle.

“They said it wasn't a penalty so I said, 'just ask him, wait until you've seen it and then you can say. It's all right getting in my face now and when it's a penalty you'll know you are wrong', that's what I said to them. And I got booked for it. I don't know why - I had five or six people in my face and I'm the one who gets booked, I'm the one who wins the penalty.”

Leicester fans had already targeted Huckerby each time he touched the ball, and the penalty box incident simply served to up the decibel level - but the Canaries' star man said he thrived on being the bad boy.

“I take it is a compliment when the fans don't like me, long may they keep booing me,” he said. “I'm not really bothered, in fact I quite enjoy it because it means that deep down they have a little bit of respect for you. Because they try and get on my back it makes me feel better - because they realise I am a good player.”

While Huckerby left Carrow Road feeling vindicated, he also admitted to a sense of defeat as far as City's season is concerned, with the play-offs now a target for next season.

“I honestly think it is too late now, but we still have pride to play for,” he said.

“You should want to win every game anyway so we have to try and win as many games as we can and build for next season.

“I thought it was a great win, I thought we deserved it. We got a bit sloppy halfway through the second half, but apart from that I thought we were the better team.”

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