Hucks still hungry for action
Chris Lakey Darren Huckerby has spoken passionately of his love for Norwich City - and why he just wants to be involved in what could be his final two months at the club.
Darren Huckerby has spoken passionately of his love for Norwich City - and why he just wants to be involved in what could be his final two months at the club.
Huckerby has won back his place in City's starting line-up, but his contract is up in the summer and there is no indication yet that he will be offered another one.
However, the 31-year-old has just one immediate aim - to remain a part of manager Glenn Roeder's plans.
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"I just want to play games and be involved more than anything," he said. "I'm not worried about not starting - obviously I want to start, but I just want to be involved until the end of the season. That's my main aim.
"There is nothing worse than seeing the lads travelling away and you're stuck in the gym. It's horrible. I just want to be involved - and that's up to the manager.
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"I just want to be part of it, whatever part that may be. At this stage now, especially after missing games, I just want to be part of it."
Huckerby, inset, and Roeder have been at pains to quell suggestions there is a rift between the two, and there is no obvious evidence that one exists.
Roeder has always stressed that the business of keeping City in the Championship comes before negotiating new deals - and Huckerby says he's happy to wait for his turn at the table.
"At the minute I haven't been offered a contract," he said. "I don't want to pressure the club. The club have been great to me and I will never put pressure on them to do anything.
"If they don't offer me a contract I'm fine with that, I really am. I'm not just saying that, I really am fine with it.
"We have had great times, it's been the best time of my career when I've been here. Even though I've been successful at other clubs I feel that I have bonded. For a lot of games, for a lot of seasons I have felt the best I can be. If I do walk away from the club I can say I have given it my best."
The regard in which Huckerby is held by City fans was again evident before kick-off at Blackpool, when the announcement of his name on the team-sheet was met with a huge roar of approval.
"It's great," he said. "It might sound silly but I thought of this as my club after two or three games on loan. It sounds stupid, but I did feel part of it and I felt this was the place I wanted to play forever, and that's not changed.
"The only thing that has changed is that I have had little injuries that have not helped me. Truly I can look back at my time, if this is the last season and obviously I have had bad games but I have been pretty consistent over the last four years or so. I have enjoyed my time here - and this is my home."
Huckerby was at the centre of the game's first controversy, brought down by Shaun Barker in the area minutes before referee Rob Shoebridge allowed play to go on when Mark Fotheringham was grounded by a head injury - and Blackpool went on to score their second.
"It thought it was a blatant penalty, nailed on," he said. "I knew I was in front of him and the only way he could get the ball was to go through me and he did go through me, there's no doubt about that.
"With Fozzy his head is split open and it's not like it was on the edge of the box and the ball fell to somebody and he hit it. He let it go a good 10 seconds. I wouldn't say we stopped, but when one of your team-mates is on the floor with blood spurting out of his head - well, I'm very disappointed with the referee.
"He says he didn't see it, but there's three of them, it's not just the referee. There are two linesmen who can stop him straight away with buzzers. You'll notice every time anyone got near a head injury after that he stopped it straight away. I think he knows he made a mistake."
However, Huckerby admitted he had no arguments with the final result.
"I thought they played really well," he said. "They have a couple of good little players. We didn't play as well as we could do - losing Fozzy didn't help, and with Rusty (suspended Darel Russell) not being there didn't help. They're both very big players for us in centre midfield. I'm not saying the lads who played there didn't do well, but Rusty's played 300 games, in a tough league, and he knows how to do it. It is no coincidence he has been very successful and he is a player you will miss."