Hucks is here to stay - Grant
CHRIS LAKEY Canaries boss Peter Grant insists Darren Huckerby is going nowhere.Huckerby's early return from City's tour of Holland coupled with last week's criticism of the club following the sales of Robert Earnshaw and Dickson Etuhu had prompted a weekend of speculation among fans that the two-time Player of the Year could be on his way out of Carrow Road.
Canaries boss Peter Grant insists Darren Huckerby is going nowhere.
Huckerby's early return from City's tour of Holland coupled with last week's criticism of the club following the sales of Robert Earnshaw and Dickson Etuhu had prompted a weekend of speculation among fans that the two-time Player of the Year could be on his way out of Carrow Road.
But Grant said last night that Huckerby was at City to stay.
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“Without a shadow of doubt,” said Grant. “If he was going to leave Norwich he would have left last season - there have always been plenty of clubs interested in him.
“That is why I gave him a new contract.
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“I spoke to him and told him that I never keep players who are not committed to the club and he said, 'gaffer, I want to stay and play here'.
“He won't be going anywhere - I can guarantee that.”
Huckerby has yet to feature in City's pre-season schedule after picking up a slight groin injury which forced his early return from Holland, although Grant was reluctant to put a date on his return to action.
“I am not going to put pressure on Hucks by saying when I think he will be back,” said Grant. “I know he had a similar problem a couple of seasons ago and missed the opening game and I don't want a repeat of that.
“I am always very wary of groin injuries because it only takes one little knock and it could be gone again, so I won't be taking any risks.
“He was itching to play last week against King's Lynn but I said 'no way'. He did some work after that and I told him on Saturday I would start him in the afternoon against Apeldoorn and, sure enough, after about 25 minutes of the training session he felt it a little bit. That was him off home.”
Summer signing Julien Brellier also looks likely to miss out against FC Zwolle tomorrow night because of a thigh injury.
“His game is all about fitness and I think his problem is more to do with tiredness,” said Grant. “He said when he came in he was a little bit behind but it's a case of catching up on our fitness levels while playing game sat the same time and it's hard to do them both sometimes.”
Meanwhile, Grant has scotched reports of a new bid for Celtic striker Derek Riordan.
Grant has admitted he is still looking for new faces before the season opens on August 11 - and reports from Scotland suggested he would try once again to bring Riordan south to Carrow Road.
Grant was heavily linked with the 24-year-old earlier this season, but Celtic boss Gordon Strachan was reluctant to allow him to leave.
However, Riordan continues to be unhappy with life at Celtic where, despite scoring the winner in their US tour victory over Chicago Fire at the weekend, he has been unable to hold down a first team starting spot.
But while Grant says he remains an admirer of Riordan, he would struggle to find a place for him in his current set-up.
“Derek is a top quality player,” Grant said. “He is probably the best finisher at Celtic, but the problem is what position does he play? I don't really know if he is a striker, a second striker or if he's best wide of a three. His quality is without doubt and he is a player I like, but the structure in my team is the reason I won't be going in for him.
“We're still looking to get players in. We're making a lot of inquiries to see what's out there and hopefully we'll have something in the next couple of weeks. We'll keep knocking at the door and see if anything comes of it.”