Recalled Huckerby aims high

David Cuffley Darren Huckerby set his sights on an exciting end to the season for Norwich City after helping them into the top half of the Championship table on his return to the side.

David Cuffley

Darren Huckerby set his sights on an exciting end to the season for Norwich City after helping them into the top half of the Championship table on his return to the side.

The 31-year-old started a league match for the first time this year and played the full 90 minutes as the Canaries completed the double over Barnsley with a 1-0 win at Carrow Road.

Jamie Cureton, captain for the day, struck a first-half winner to keep alive City's outside chance of a miraculous top six finish. They are currently seven points adrift of sixth place with 12 matches to go.

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“After the position we were in, hopefully the play-offs is a target. It's going to be difficult to get there but we'll just try to keep winning games, we'll take every game as it comes,” said Huckerby, whose recall was one of six changes to the team beaten 4-0 at Leicester.

“It's difficult sometimes when you come back after not playing a proper game for two months. But I thought the lads did well, to get back on winning ways.

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“I thought we deserved it. Barnsley had a couple of good chances but apart from that I thought we controlled the game.

“It was difficult with three big players out for us. It could have been a tricky game for us, but we did what we had to do and got the three points.

“Curo is a good finisher. He's scored goals all through his career. We could have had more but we're happy and it's good to be back to winning ways after last week.”

Despite being in and out of the side since Glenn Roeder's arrival as manager, Huckerby hailed the transformation that has taken City from rock bottom to 12th in the table.

He said: “The players have done great since the new manager came in. He's changed a lot about, and it's worked because we're still winning games.

“You can see the difference from three or four months ago. It's completely different. We'll just keep building and that's what the club needs to do.”

Exactly what role Huckerby may have in Roeder's rebuilding is unclear. He said before Saturday's match that he would talk about a new contract if it was offered, and after the game he dismissed fresh reports linking him with a move to Toronto.

He said: “No. The fact of the matter is, if I wanted to sign for somebody I'd have signed by now. There are going to be a lot of changes in the summer so we'll see what happens.”

Huckerby's best work against Barnsley involved setting up a couple of second-half shooting chances for fellow winger Lee Croft - one was saved, one was off target.

“Crofty just doesn't know how to score, that's his problem,” joked Huckerby. “He gets in great positions all the time but I hope he can add that to his game because he'll be a great player.”

Roeder praised Huckerby's performance on his recall, and poured scorn on the idea that there was any kind of rift between the two of them.

He said: “I think he did well. Considering he hasn't played for a while, I was very pleased with Hucks. What I like about Hucks is he's got a super attitude.

“What I don't like is the way people in and around the club have tried to say there's a problem between the two of us. He's gone out of his way to say there isn't, I've gone out of my way - though I don't feel I have to go out of my way to say there isn't - and yet these nasty, irritating people who try to cause confrontation between myself and the player, between myself and supporters, are just bad people.

“They are people who will never manage a football club, they have little idea of managing a football club and yet they have a voice that reaches our supporters. Me and Huckerby get on very well. I don't have favourites, I don't do favourites. I pick the best team I think. At the end of the day, it's my call.”

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