Hucks is irreplaceable

Dion Dublin says new signing Wes Hoolahan should not be labelled as Darren Huckerby's replacement - because it's an impossible role to fill.While comparisons of two left wingers may be difficult to avoid, Dublin insists that Hoolahan is a talent in his own right - and that they are very different players.

Dion Dublin says new signing Wes Hoolahan should not be labelled as Darren Huckerby's replacement - because it's an impossible role to fill.

While comparisons of two left wingers may be difficult to avoid, Dublin insists that Hoolahan is a talent in his own right - and that they are very different players.

"I don't Wes has got a big job ahead of him to convince people of his talents," said Dublin. "But he has a job to fill Hucks' boots, if that's what we have bought him for, because I don't think you will get another one to fill Hucks' boot.

"Hucks is unique.


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"They are two different players as well: Hucks is just a pace machine who will get you 15 goals a season, having played all the games.

"Wes - having played against him - is tricky, he has lot of skill, he's good to watch, he will bring people into the game.

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"He can pick a pass, he can cross it and he gets his fair share of goals. He won't get as many goals as Hucks for you, so in that respect you are going to have to look at him as a different type of player, not as a Hucks replacement, because nobody replaces Hucks."

Dublin spent the final two years of his long and illustrious career playing alongside Huckerby before retiring after the final game of last season, at Sheffield Wednesday - which also proved to be his team-mates last appearance in City colours.

Huckerby's departure, after manager Glenn Roeder opted not to offer him a new deal, sparked huge debate, but Dublin says fans have to get used to some harsh facts of life at Carrow Road.

"Hucks wanted to stay," he said. "If he was asked to stay he would have stayed , but it's the gaffer's prerogative. Glenn Roeder is in charge and he will have in the squad who he wants.

"Glenn kept us up - the players with his management direction and I think he will progress things again. Whether Norwich will go up next year or not I don't know, it depends on what players they get in.

"But I have said this before - I think Norwich as a club is too nice, the place is too nice, the fans are too nice, everything about it is too nice. I hope people understand what I am trying to say - in order to become successful you have to have a nasty streak. Even as an individual you have to have a nasty streak.

"To become successful Norwich have to be a bit nastier, the team has to become nastier. When you go over the white line do whatever it takes to win the game - don't cheat, just do what it takes."

The new challenge begins at one of Dublin's former clubs, Coventry, on opening day.

"What a place to go and win," he laughed. "Coventry are looking to go back up with their new stadium and all the finances and Norwich are desperate as well - and they have every chance if the gaffer gets in the right players.

"But this year, for some reason, I think Wolves are going to do well. I think Mick McCarthy is a very, very good manager and they will do well ­ - I have a sneaky feeling."

Dublin has joined the Sky TV ranks following retirement at the age of 39 and says he won't miss the rigours of pre-season training - but had a message for the fans who gave him such a stunning send-off at Hillsborough.

"I really want to say thanks to the fans of all the football clubs we went to last season," said Dublin, who had postponed his retirement last summer. "The send-off that Norwich people gave me was incredible, for last year and this year. They are very sincere supporters and I must thank them for that - and I must thank the Sheffield Wednesday fans as well.

"It was incredible at Hillsborough. If you think of the stadia I could have retired at, away from Norwich of course, with the history and the feeling, then Sheffield Wednesday was the perfect place to go - 42,000 people stood up and said goodbye to Dion Dublin.

"The referee stopped the game as people stood - the press box, the directors' box as well. It was appreciated, it really was."

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