Huckerby keeping a check on his priorities
JONATHAN REDHEAD Norwich City's FA Cup hero Darren Huckerby today dished up a healthy slice of realism by admitting that the Canaries' next league game is far more important than Saturday's clash with Premiership champions Chelsea.
Norwich City's FA Cup hero Darren Huckerby today dished up a healthy slice of realism by admitting that the Canaries' next league game is far more important than Saturday's clash with Premiership champions Chelsea.
Huckerby has scored five FA Cup goals in three games this season and six goals in his last six City matches after re-discovering some of his best form in yellow and green.
But the prospect of a match-up with Jose Mourinho's men in the FA Cup fifth round does not appear to excite the City winger and he is placing more importance on the game against high-flying Preston at Deepdale next Tuesday - even though he will be suspended along with Dickson Etuhu.
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The pair picked up yellow cards for late challenges to take their totals to five bookings for the season, but one-match bans do not take effect for seven days leaving them free to take on Chelsea.
However, Huckerby maintained that only one of the big four in the Premiership, of Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea could win the Cup and is determined just to enjoy the day at Stamford Bridge.
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“To be honest it'll be a good day for the supporters and a few of the other lads but realistically it's going to be very difficult and our league form is much more important,” he said.
“So we'll go there and enjoy the day but the most important match is Tuesday night against Preston.”
The 30-year-old is delighted with his current form for City and says he is playing as well as he did in the 2003/04 season, the year the Canaries earned promotion to the Premiership.
“Obviously in the promotion season I did ok,” he said. “I'm enjoying my football and feeling strong. I started the season very well then had an injury which kept me out for four weeks and it takes time to get yourself back to levels you need to be.
“But I feel very, very strong at the minute.”
The winger was also delighted with his stunning brace against Blackpool on Tuesday, especially his first goal - a 25-yard right-foot rocket into the top corner - which brought City back on level terms with the Seasiders.
Huckerby's strike came after he was moved back to the left wing having started the game up-front alongside Chris Brown.
“As soon as I hit it and knew what direction it was going in I knew it was going in the top corner,” he said. “I'm very pleased with it but just happy to go through to the next round.
“I've scored a few better than that, but it gets in my top 10.
“I've scored big goals against big teams like Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool. I've scored a few goals in my career and it means a lot to score for Norwich.”
The City talisman said he felt the side deserved the win against Blackpool despite a first half showing which saw boos ring around at half-time.
“I thought we didn't play as well as we can do but we were very comfortable,” he said.
“They get a corner and we're one-nil down again which has probably been the story of our season.
“We seem to have to fight back in near enough every game so we knew it was going to be difficult, because they just sat back behind the ball then.
“It took a good strike for them to start struggling again. As soon as we got the goal I thought we were the much better team.”