Lita is top of Hucks' Christmas list

Norwich legend Darren Huckerby admits snatching Reading loan striker Leroy Lita on a permanent deal would be the perfect Canaries' Christmas present.Lita notched his seventh in 14 loan appearances against Charlton to ease City's festive fears of being dragged ever closer to the Championship drop zone.

Norwich legend Darren Huckerby admits snatching Reading loan striker Leroy Lita on a permanent deal would be the perfect Canaries' Christmas present.

Lita notched his seventh in 14 loan appearances against Charlton to ease City's festive fears of being dragged ever closer to the Championship drop zone.

City season ticket holder Huckerby is now a fully paid up member of the Reading hitman's fan club after watching Lita at close quarters during his MLS off season.

"Lita is a key player for Norwich," he said. "Without his goals then they would be in the bottom three. Norwich will be desperate to keep him but it's not as simple as that.


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"Norwich would have to beg and borrow and still that might not be enough. He's clearly a very talented player and there will be lots of teams out there, come January, who will be eager to snap him up.

"His situation is different to mine, though, when I was on loan at Norwich and before I signed on. He's a young lad and he's still got a long career ahead of him.

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"He's a Premier League quality player basically and he's on the up. With Norwich where they are in the table, it will be very difficult for them to hold on to Lita.

"I spoke to him recently and he really likes it at Norwich. I told him that the fans are great and if you're doing well they really get behind you - we'll all have to wait and see."

Huckerby warns without Lita's predatory goal threat City face an uphill battle to avoid being sucked back into the relegation mix.

"They did what they needed to do against Charlton," he said. "But it was a tale of two teams really struggling. I've not seen many teams worse than Charlton and that explains why they are where they are in the league and Norwich weren't that much better. If you take Lita out of the team then you have got to wonder where the goals are going to come from. They play some decent football and keep the ball very well but what they need is a bit more penetration up front.

"When you play one man up front then the rest of the team need to wade in with the goals. Matty Pattison and Lee Croft have done their bit but others need to chip in too. I think it's difficult for David Bell at the minute as he's being played out of position. I think his natural position would be on the right, but Crofty is playing so well that he's keeping him out of that position. He just doesn't look comfortable on the left."

Huckerby will make a belated Carrow Road farewell before Sunday's Championship test against hometown club Nottingham Forest.

There was huge disappointment among the Canaries' support when the decision to release Huckerby was not announced until after the final match of last season, denying him a last appearance in front of a full match day crowd.

The timing of the farewell is, however, quite apt as it was before the Forest home game on Boxing Day 2003 that Huckerby signed permanently for the club.

"It's nice that it is going to happen before the Forest game on Sunday as that has a lot of symmetry about it," said Huckerby. "It was disappointing that I could not have said farewell a long time ago, but this will put the matter to bed once and for all.

"It's not something I agreed to straightaway. I didn't want people to think it was an ego trip. I get all the thanks I need from the fans in the street or at the ground, but it will be nice nonetheless for myself, my wife and my kids."

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