Huckerby: I won't be back for Norwich

Chris Lakey Darren Huckerby has ruled out an emotional playing return at Norwich City. Glenn Roeder's sacking yesterday has led to mounting speculation that Huckerby could play during the MLS off-season.

Chris Lakey

Darren Huckerby has ruled out an emotional playing return at Norwich City.

Glenn Roeder's sacking yesterday led to speculation that Huckerby could play during the MLS off-season.

But Huckerby is due to return to San Jose in two-and-a-half weeks time and yesterday ruled out the possibility of returning to the City line-up, insisting he had to stay loyal to his new employers.

"I love the club as much as the next man, but I am under contract with another club and they went out of their way to get me, they flew me halfway around the world to join them and I have always been a person who believed in loyalty," he said.

"I will show the same loyalty to San Jose as I would to Norwich.

Most Read

"I go back in two and a half weeks. I haven't trained properly in weeks. I have trained day in day out, but it's about football training and match fitness.

"I could say I'd love to be back playing at Norwich, but in the real world it doesn't work like that. I still believe we have enough players to get out of the situation we're in. But we need firepower, and experience at the back as well."

Huckerby insisted he took no satisfaction in seeing Roeder sacked - a decision confirmed by Tuesday's FA Cup third round replay defeat at home to Charlton - even though the pair had a fractious relationship.

"The most important thing for me is the club and after watching the game, even though we're struggling, it's the first time that I thought there's a good chance we're getting relegated here," he said.

"I have spoken to different players and other people in the game and I've said 'we're struggling and we're not doing well', but finally it hit home that there's a very, very good chance we could go down.

"Let's be honest, Charlton were a very poor team as well, basically it was like two League One teams playing. With the exception of one or two players - I thought Doc (Gary Doherty) was immense at both ends of the pitch, and he has been most of the season, and Crofty (Lee Croft) tried hard - other than that we looked like we were struggling big time."

Huckerby's relationship with Roeder often reflected that between manager and fans - but results didn't justify some of his comments, according to Huckerby.

"I think after seeing the Charlton game and the way the fans reacted to a poor performance, it's a results-based business and we weren't getting results," he said. "Let's face it, it's not just the one game, it's not two or three - I think I'm right in saying we've lost 17 games this season, all in all, and we're halfway through the season and that's not a great record.

"This gives a new manager the chance to try and change things. It's not nice that it has to happen but there's stuff that's happened, with the fans at the AGM and other things that have happened with the fans. If you take all that away from it and you just look at results, the results haven't been good enough.

"That's what it boils down to. It wouldn't have been so bad if he'd had a pop at fans when we were winning week in, week out and we were near the top of the league - then he could say what he wants.

"People wouldn't like him any more for it, but he could back it up with results, but the results weren't good enough."

Huckerby hasn't been slow in coming forward with his views in recent years and believes whoever comes in must quickly get to grips with City's supporter base.

"The new man faces a massive task," he said. "We have got to find goals and looking at the last few games, it's all right saying we create chances, but against the worst team in the league we've got to create more than a few long balls into the box and a couple of headers. We need goals. I'm not saying a new man has got to have played for the club, but I think they've got to at least know the area a bit and how people think down here.

"The fans here turn out week in, week out. I think if you treat the Norwich fans with respect you will get respect back."