Recovering Etuhu has yellows fever

DAVID CUFFLEY Saturday afternoon fever will soon have a grip on Dickson Etuhu - but the Norwich City midfielder has already been feeling a bit too hot, hot, hot for his liking.


Saturday afternoon fever will soon have a grip on Dickson Etuhu - but the Norwich City midfielder has already been feeling a bit too hot, hot, hot for his liking.

Etuhu's holiday break in Jamaica may have given him respite from his Colney training sessions and the wet, wet, wet English summer.

But it almost did more harm than good when the 25-year-old was laid low for 10 days in the Caribbean.

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Etuhu, preparing to return to training with the Canaries next week, said illness had threatened to disrupt his carefully prepared summer training schedule. However, he says he will be fighting fit when he and his team-mates report to the training ground on Tuesday.

“I was ill for a week and a half,” said Etuhu. “I was on holiday in Montego Bay and I had some kind of fever but I feel good now. I feel better.

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“It kind of knocked me off course a little but I'm back on to it now.”

Etuhu, player of the year Darren Huckerby and striker Chris Brown have been among those getting some extra early preparation for the new campaign and they should be in ideal shape when the really hard work starts next week.

Said Etuhu: “I've been training with Hucks and the fitness coach, Dave Carolan, and Brownie and a few others and it's been quite good. I'm feeling it in my legs a little but next week will be a lot harder.

“I've been at Colney most of the summer. It's been really good working out with some of the boys and getting our minds right for this season because it's going to be a big season for us.”

That season begins on Saturday, August 11, with a trip to Etuhu's former club, Preston North End - one of only three first-team fixtures he missed last season. He was suspended for the 2-1 defeat at Deepdale in February.

He said: “Preston at home was the second match last time round and now we go there first. But I haven't really looked at the fixtures. I'm not really bothered about it. I'm just taking every game as it comes. That's the most important thing and we want to win as many as we can.”

At least two new faces will be at Colney after the arrival of goalkeeper Matthew Gilks and full-back Jon Otsemobor, and Etuhu welcomed the additions to the squad.

He said: “My brother played with Matthew Gilks when he was on loan at Rochdale. He told me he's a good lad, so I look forward to training and playing with him.

“And I know Jon from up north. They are very good additions to our team and it's good to have them here.

“I'm sure there will quite a few more. The more players that come in, the better for us. The more the competition, the better players we will become by competing against each other to get a yellow shirt on Saturday. I love that and I thrive on that so I look forward to it.”

Talk of moves in the opposite direction has centred mostly on City top scorer Robert Earnshaw, said to be admired by newly-promoted Derby and relegated Charlton.

But Etuhu said the reports would not unsettle his good friend.

He said: “Earnie's a goal machine. At the end of the day clubs are always after that. He's special, he scores goals and there are not many people that do that. That's always going to happen. During the season, that's going to happen. I don't take any notice of that.

“Earnie's a good mate of mine. I spoke to him yesterday, I spoke to him today, I speak to him most days. He's not thinking about leaving. He's just talking about coming back and training with the rest of the boys. You're always going to get that with top players. Hucks gets it as well.”

One of Etuhu's own targets for 2007-08 is to increase his goal tally after finding the net seven times last season.

He said: “I want to score more than I scored last year, put it that way.”

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