Lee the key man in derby - Huckerby
Chris Lakey Canaries legend Darren Huckerby says ex-Tractor Boy Alan Lee can smash his way to Norwich City hero status on Sunday.
Canaries legend Darren Huckerby says ex-Tractor Boy Alan Lee can smash his way to Norwich City hero status on Sunday.
Huckerby was the last man to score a City winner at Portman Road, but says he's dreaming of only one scoreline on Sunday - and it's Lee who makes his dream come true.
“We can do it,” said Huckerby yesterday. “I think it will be a tough game but hopefully we can nick it - Alan Lee, one nil.
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“I think he's a great addition to the squad. He gives you something that we haven't had for a little bit.
“He just has to go and put himself about and smash a few people.
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“Even though he played for Ipswich I have always liked him as a player and I am sure he will forget all previous ties and go and knock a few people about, which you do need.
“He is pivotal, he will be a massive factor in this game. Without him we haven't got the presence I don't think to win the game. He has to go and be nasty - that's what he's good at, that's his job and it would put them on the back foot.”
Huckerby also insists that one of his former team-mates, at the other end of the pitch, will have a big role to play.
“Jason Shackell has been immense since he came back - it just shows what a ridiculous decision it was to let him go, but he has come back and he's shown everybody what I always knew - that if he gets his head sorted out he could be a Premier League player. But he has got to do it more often and he's got to believe in himself, and I think he has done since he came back.”
Huckerby is currently back in California with the San Jose Earthquakes, but keeps a close watch on the affairs of the club he served so well for almost five years - and he knows the consequences should City lose on Sunday.
“The consequences of us not winning are disastrous,” he said. “There is no other word for it.
“I wouldn't like to say the club would go under because I don't think it will, but it will set us back years and years and years.
“It is a must-win game, but there haven't been enough of them. Hopefully the results will go for us - but two of the teams got results last game. Southampton pulled off a great result against Crystal Palace and so did Forest, drawing at Sheffield United. And our win just keeps us level.
“I think we need five points maybe from the last three games, draws aren't good enough now. You'd like to think we can win our home game so apart from that we have got to pick up points somewhere else. A draw on Sunday is the least we can hope for really.“Obviously Watford was probably one of the biggest games in 50 years and that has just kept us in the ball game. I think everyone knows how big it is. A point is maybe not enough, depending on other results, but it doesn't get any bigger as a Norwich player or a Norwich fan. This is as big as it gets.”
It's for that every reason that Huckerby believes motivation isn't necessary.
“Usually it shouldn't matter, but obviously with the significance of the game it probably adds a little bit more pressure, but that's what you are in it for, games like this where everything is on the line,” he said. “It should be a good game. They are usually pretty good, but at the end of the day it's not really about anything but the result - as long as it's in our favour.
“The thing that is worrying me is Ipswich haven't played very well for a few weeks now and I'm hoping they don't turn it around for one game.”
The match kicks off in the small hours in California, but Huckerby is already having his own private build-up to the game.
“The next two days are going to be awful,” he said. “I don't know yet how I'm going to follow it. It will be three or four o'clock in the morning over here so I will have to sort something out. It's not on TV or anything but I'll find a way. We're playing the night before but I have a little thigh injury and I don't think I'll be playing anyway.
“I wouldn't have been allowed to come back - even though it is a massive, massive game.”
The passion for his former club is still there is bucketfuls, but Huckerby insists that constant rumours of a return as a player in the new year are just that.
“I might be coming back to Norwich, but I don't know if I will be playing,” he said. “I will be 33 coming round to 34. Everyone would love for it to happen but it's possibly a year too late.
“Obviously one or two people have made a lot out of it. I do still speak to Gunny but we have to look at reality. Obviously I want to come back to work at Norwich in some capacity, but playing might be a bit of a stretch.”