City's wall of silence
CHRIS WISE Nigel Worthington received a welcome piece of good news as a wall of silence went up around Colney Training Ground and Carrow Road.
Norwich City manager Nigel Worthington received a welcome piece of good news as wall of silence went up around Colney Training Ground and Carrow Road.
With no-one at the club apparently willing to talk publicly about the ultimatum delivered to the City boss by the club's owners on Monday afternoon attention switched to the man whose presence on the field at the weekend would give his manager a massive boost - Darren Huckerby.
The flying frontman has been on the sidelines since picking up a groin injury during the 3-0 defeat at Coventry earlier this month - but it emerged yesterday that he was making a good recovery after missing three league matches that produced a grand total of just one point.
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It's still too early to say whether Huckerby will be fit for Sunday's crunch clash with Burnley at Carrow Road. But he's clearly moving in the right direction after nearly three weeks on the sidelines and that will delight Worthington, whose position has been the subject of much debate since the embarrassing 3-1 defeat at Plymouth.
The long-serving boss and his players were swiftly told to “rectify the situation” by Delia Smith and Michael Wynn Jones - with the majority shareholders demanding improvement against Burnley, and at QPR on October 14 - and should Huckerby feature in those games it would clearly improve City's chances no end.
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Physiotherapist Neal Reynolds is pleased with the progress that has been made and with Worthington initially putting a “three to four weeks” time-scale on his recovery the manager will now be hoping that he is ready to return in three.
“Darren is doing well, we are all very pleased with his progress,” said Reynolds. “He suffered a slight tear in the muscle deep in the groin but that has healed and now he is back running and doing some light ball work. So far he has suffered no reaction, which is encouraging.
“At the moment his recovery is on course but it's too early to say whether he will be ready for Sunday. We'll have to wait and see on that one.”
If Huckerby does make it he will be aiming to complete a hat-trick of scintillating home displays against Burnley, the team he faced on his Norwich debut as a loan player just over three years ago.
He marked his arrival at Carrow Road by turning in a superb performance which culminated in a dashing run to help Iwan Roberts complete a 2-0 victory - and was at it again in the corresponding fixture last term, scoring a brilliant goal in a 2-1 success just after Christmas.
Bearing in mind his manager's current predicament another dose of magic would be extremely timely, but all Worthington can do at the moment is keep his fingers crossed that the speedy winger is fit to play. It remains to be seen whether the two-week international break after the Burnley game will affect his thinking.
There was another encouraging bulletin for Worthington to digest yesterday, this time on the fitness of Adam Drury who has taken the first steps on the road to recovery from the ankle injury he picked up in training before the recent home game against Crystal Palace.
The 28-year-old defender has undergone a “tidy-up” operation and once again everything went to plan.
“Adam is fine,” said Reynolds. “The operation went well and he is already back on his feet, which is good news.”
It goes without saying that Drury won't be fit for the weekend, with on-loan Everton youngster Patrick Boyle once again set to deputise, but he should be challenging for a recall by the middle of October.
Perhaps understandably Worthington was keeping a low profile yesterday as debate continue to rage on his future. The Eastern Daily Press attempted to contact him on a number of occasions but he was not answering his mobile phone. Assuming the manager continues to remain tight-lipped his first comments on Delia and Michael's hard-hitting statement are likely to come at his pre-match press conference at Colney training ground later this week.
A request to speak to a senior player fell on deaf ears, while board members were also keeping mum and there was nothing new on the subject on the club's official website.
Former Nottingham Forest and Manchester United striker Gary Birtles, who will form part of Sky's commentary team on Sunday, was another who declined a request for an interview.