Croft's salute to captain marvel

DAVID CUFFLEY The youngest member of Norwich City's starting line-up paid his own tribute to the two thirtysomethings who did most to engineer a vital victory over Leeds.


The youngest member of Norwich City's starting line-up paid his own tribute to the two thirtysomethings who did most to engineer a vital victory over Leeds.

Winger Lee Croft hailed the matchwinning influence of goalscorers Dion Dublin and Darren Huckerby - who will be 38 and 31, respectively, on successive days in April - as the Canaries came from behind to secure only their second win in 10 Coca-Cola Championship matches.

Dublin, named captain for the day in the absence of the suspended Adam Drury, and Huckerby, taking on his former club, were key figures in a 2-1 home success that lifted some of the clouds hovering over Carrow Road.

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And 21-year-old Croft was quick to salute their contribution to a well-deserved win, describing how Dublin gathered his team-mates around him for a pep talk on the pitch just before kick-off.

Said Croft: “He just wanted to have a little word with us by ourselves outside, as the gaffer had done inside. He was just saying to us it was a 'must win' game and we had to do everything in our power to win it - and luckily we've done that. He was giving us the benefit of his experience and giving us a few little pointers.

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“It was a great performance by him again, as it has been every week. It breeds confidence and the experience he brings to us is fantastic.”

It was Dublin who brought City level at 1-1 after 58 minutes - before Croft had a hand in the winning goal as Huckerby marked his 150th appearance for the club with a vintage finish after 77 minutes.

“Hucks has been on fire again today,” said Croft. “We need important players to step up and be counted, as everyone does, from now until the end of the season to make sure we keep winning games.

“I saw Hucks peel off, he managed to stay onside and once he gets a one on one, you'd back him against anyone. He skinned the defender and stuck it into the goal. It was a great finish.

“It was so important to get the three points. It was a must win game for us, especially with Leeds in and around the same position. I think a few of the lads thought oh no, same old story, when we went a goal down after playing so well.

“The gaffer had a few words to say to us at half-time and he stated that we still had the personnel and the quality to win the game if we wanted to. It was up to us and thankfully we went out there with a different attitude and our heads didn't go down and we got what we deserved.

“It seems we have to work so hard to score goals and create chances and another team comes here and gets one chance and it's a goal. Bang, we're 1-0 down. But I think we are playing well. The fans were brilliant today and they were brilliant on Tuesday because they realise that we're giving 100 per cent and we're playing well.

“But it's no good just playing well, we need to get the results. We create a lot of chances and it baffles me how we don't score more goals. I was guilty the other night against Wolves, missing a sitter. It played on my mind. It's not nice missing chances like that.”

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