Hucks back to his best
Darren Huckerby believes he is close to firing on all cylinders again after being slowed down by a bout of glandular fever. The fleet-footed frontman looked back to somewhere near his very best at Plymouth on Saturday as he capped a dazzling individual display with a superb solo goal to earn the Canaries a well deserved share of the spoils.
Darren Huckerby believes he is close to firing on all cylinders again after being slowed down by a bout of glandular fever.
The fleet-footed frontman looked back to somewhere near his very best at Plymouth on Saturday as he capped a dazzling individual display with a superb solo goal to earn the Canaries a well deserved share of the spoils.
Huckerby appeared to hemmed in on the left flank when he picked up a pass from Adam Drury, but he somehow wriggled free of his markers and then burst into the area in thrilling fashion before beating Pilgrims keeper Romain Larrieu with an impudent chip from a tight angle.
It would appear that City's talisman is hitting top form at just the right time. But he was refusing to get carried away after the game and insisted he was just happy to be feeling 100 per cent again after learning that - unbeknown to him - he had been battling against illness earlier in the season.
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“I had a little bit of illness earlier in the season - and I have only just found out about it!” said Saturday's goal hero after taking his tally for the campaign up to six. “I had a few blood tests and it showed up that I had had glandular fever.
“Looking back I didn't feel that good for a time but I just kept playing. That's football. I don't want to make a big deal about it because I wasn't doing anything anybody else here wouldn't have done.
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“Now I feel fine and although I wouldn't say I am back to my best yet, I do think I am back to a level where I can cause defenders a lot of problems.”
Huckerby clearly enjoyed his moment of glory on Saturday, which came right in front of the 1100-strong travelling army that had made the gruelling 360-mile trip to south Devon - but he did admit there may have been a slice of good fortune involved.
“Adam put me down the line and I had a few defenders around me,” he said “I don't know if I got a bit lucky with a little bobble but I went past both of them and was able to get it over the keeper and into the back of the net.
“It's not for me to say whether it was a good goal or not. From a personal point of view I was just happy to be involved in the game. In the first half I wasn't involved as much as I would have liked to be but in the second it was much better. I know if I can get the ball I can cause problems and I think you saw that today.
“I was very happy when it went in because it got us back into the game and I thought we were a lot stronger after that. In the first half we passed the ball around well enough but didn't really do much with it but in the second half we started getting it wide, played really well and could easily have won the game. But to be fair to them a draw was probably a fair result and we are happy with a point.”
Huckerby threatened to score a second spectacular solo effort later in the second half, only to be stopped on the very edge of the area after riding a number of clumsy challenges. In the end the only thing he got for his trouble was a yellow card - and he was still angry about the incident after the game
“I've gone past three players and they all had a nibble at me,” he said. “The referee said he was trying to play advantage which is fair enough but when I finally got tackled he should have brought the play back and awarded us a free-kick just outside the box.
“I made that point to the referee and ended up getting booked. To be honest I thought he was poor today - he didn't seem to give us much at all.”
Huckerby wasn't going to let that grievance spoil an excellent day's work and is now hoping it will be a case of onwards and upwards for the rest of the campaign - both for himself and the team.
“This season has been a disappointment for us so far but there is still a long way to go and we have got a good chance of reaching the play-offs,” he said.
“Hopefully we'll get to the end of January and things will be as they are with the squad - and we'll also be able to get a few of missing players back before too long.
“As for myself, I think my goal tally is respectable for a left-winger - but I'd love to get into double figures before the end of the season. I'll just keep plugging away, trying to score myself and also trying to make goals for other people.”
Manager Nigel Worthington was delighted to see Huckerby produce another gem.
“That was Darren at his very best - it shows what he is capable of,” he said. “He has finished it off really well.”