Hucks prepares for his swansong
Chris Lakey Darren Huckerby has given the clearest indication yet that Norwich City's must-win game against Queens Park Rangers next weekend will be his last appearance at Carrow Road.
Darren Huckerby has given the clearest indication yet that Norwich City's must-win game against Queens Park Rangers next weekend will be his last appearance at Carrow Road.
Huckerby, speaking after Saturday's 2-1 home defeat by Championship leaders West Brom, had been hoping to have his contract, which expires this summer, extended by a year.
But although manager Glenn Roeder said all contract talks are on hold until the season is completed, Huckerby believes he's about to be shown the door.
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“It looks that way doesn't it?” he said. “All I can tell you is what I know and at this present time it looks like I will be leaving. But no hard feelings, that's life.
“I don't want my last couple of games to be where the club get relegated, and I think that will be unfair on me and unfair on the lads, but we are in a position because we haven't won enough games and hopefully we can get ourselves out of this situation and I can look back on this as being probably the best part of my career.”
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With the retiring Dion Dublin likely to be making his final Carrow Road appearance and the last home game of a troubled campaign one that City simply cannot afford to lose, the atmosphere will be high on emotion.
“Of course it will,” said Huckerby, who will be 32 on Wednesday. “I have had great, great times here.
“At times over the last four years I have felt unstoppable, I felt that no one could stop me and I only felt that because the fans showed me that much respect and they loved me that much that they expected things to happen every time I got the ball.
“It will be a sad day, but that's football and life goes on and it is a great club and hopefully I will be a part of it for years to come.”
Defeat by West Brom means the Canaries drop a place to 18th, but more importantly are one of three teams on 52 points - just three points ahead of Sheffield Wednesday, who are in the third relegation spot, one above Leicester and two ahead of Southampton.
Victory over QPR next weekend would guarantee safety, because even if City's rivals all win, two of them - Leicester and Sheffield Wednesday - play each other, and whichever way the result falls at the Walkers Stadium, three points next weekend would settle the issue as far as the Canaries are concerned.
Anything but a win and City would almost certainly need at least a point from their last game - at Sheffield Wednesday.
And that's a scenario Huckerby doesn't want to contemplate.
“Definitely not,” he said. “We have got to win next week. We don't want it going to the last game of the season because they will need the points as well so it is up to us to win our next home game.
“It's not a comfortable position but we have left ourselves with a chance, a home game next week, and I think if we win that we'll be safe, so it is still up to us. We still have a lot to do. We have a big home game next week and the fans have got to lift the roof and lift us and hopefully we can go and get the points we need.”
City could have made life so much more comfortable had they got something at the weekend but they got off to the worst possible start, going behind within two minutes, and although Ched Evans pulled one back soon after the Baggies had increased their lead in the second half, they failed to convert the chances that came their way.
“For large parts of the game I thought we dominated and created a lot of chances and on another day we'd have probably scored two or three,” Huckerby added. “I won't say it's been the story of our season, but scoring goals has been a problem for us.
“It was an important game for them as well - they obviously needed to win the game as well to try and go up and we're fighting for our lives.
“We played some good stuff today - I wouldn't say we outplayed them but we were at least on par with the top team in the league for long parts of the game. You can take heart from that, but it's still not three points.”