Carrow Road success is key, says Huckerby
Darren Huckerby believes Norwich City need to turn home advantage into three points when two of his former clubs meet at Carrow Road on Saturday.
The Canaries renew their rivalry with Leeds United this weekend – only a division higher than last season’s League One title battle, following the two sides’ respective promotion in the summer.
Huckerby – who spent more than a season at Elland Road from 1999-2000 after a �4m move from Coventry – scored the winner the last time the two sides met in the Championship, his 78th minute strike sealing City’s 2-1 home win in February 2007.
And the Canaries’ Hall of Famer believes a similar result is needed by City this weekend, as they look to end a run of one win in seven matches.
“I didn’t realise that was the run, but in the end we want to win our home games,” said Huckerby.
“If Norwich want to do anything in this league, you want to win your home games. You have to take as many points at home and then try to nick some points away.
“It’s very important they win at home, simple as that. It doesn’t really matter who it is – Leeds, Cardiff, anybody.
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“It’ll be a tough game. I wouldn’t say it has been a bad run, but the last few games we haven’t got the points we probably deserved, so it’s going to be an interesting one.
“They’re coming into it with a bit of good form, so I’m expecting a cracking game. And it’s a proper game. They’ll be expecting to come here and get something, and we will be expecting to take all three points. They are both good sets of fans, both big clubs.”
The two fixtures in League One last season had high drama – from Fraser Forster’s injury time howler that gifted Jermaine Beckford Leeds’ winner in October, to Chris Martin’s thrilling late header settling a clash that set City on their way to the League One championship.
Leeds eventually recovered from that loss to secure the second automatic promotion spot behind Norwich – and however much their defeat at Carrow Road hurt, Huckerby believes it will mean little by the time Saturday arrives.
“That was last season, it’s forgotten about – they’re both playing with the big boys now and it’s a big game,” said Huckerby.
“Both weren’t League One clubs. Not being disrespectful to the clubs down there, but we are much better than the teams there. So now we’re in the rightful place and I think both teams are trying to push on and try to get to the elusive Premier League.”
City have drawn their last three games and Saturday’s 3-3 draw at Reading was a difficult one to take, especially given Norwich’s 3-1 half-time lead scuppered by referee Michael Oliver sending off Grant Holt – a decision rescinded this week by the Football Association.
However, Huckerby believes City boss Paul Lambert will make sure the events of last weekend are out of their system.
“If they haven’t, then they’ll be in trouble – but I’m sure the manager has got them focused on this game,” said Huckerby. “It’s a big game and, especially at home, we have got to start taking maximum points.
“Obviously they’ll feel a little bit hard done by after the game against Reading, but every game is different. That’s what makes football so good. You can forget about last week and crack on to the next one, so they’ll be going out there giving it their all expecting to get the three points at home.”