Grant: Buck up Hucks
Darren Huckerby has been told his place in the Norwich City is not guaranteed - unless he starts learning some new lessons. Canaries boss Peter Grant has laid down the law with City's star player and insists it is for the good of the team - and the manager's hair!
By CHRIS LAKEY
Darren Huckerby has been told his place in the Norwich City is not guaranteed - unless he starts learning some new lessons.
Canaries boss Peter Grant has laid down the law with City's star player and insists it is for the good of the team - and the manager's hair!
“Huckerby - I will give him the freedom of Norwich when we have got the ball, but when we have not got the ball he has got to come into line and play for us,” said Grant.
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“If he doesn't play for the team, he won't play and he's been told that, because he made it difficult for us in the second period.
“He understands that, he accepts that, he knows that's what he has got to work on even at 30 years of age to make it better and we are determined to make it better, because with him in the side it is possible to do anything … but I think I could be very, very grey by the time I get him to do his job properly.”
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Huckerby played a part in Robert Earnshaw's winner, as did Paul McVeigh, back in Grant's plans after a three-match ban for violent conduct, who played the final through ball to the scorer.
“He has got that quality and that's why I played him because I felt that if the two guys could get in there, Huckerby and McVeigh, then if you look at Robinson, you look at Etuhu and you look at Safri, I can't ask for any better passers within this league - but so many times we turned it over.
“That's why they were in the side, but the first half we just played the wrong ball, the wrong type of pass, and it looked awful. I will take responsibility for that because I put them all on the pitch hoping it would work for us.”
Grant was clearly unhappy at his side's efforts, particularly in the first half and admitted it had been a tough day at the office.
“You can say that again, I was shattered myself,” said Grant. “Especially the first half, we made it so difficult, so many long balls. I have to take responsibility for putting so many footballers on the pitch, hoping they were going to pass the ball so much better.
“I tried to keep everybody on there who could move the ball quickly. They have three, four giants at the back and we kept playing the ball long, banging it long and it was frustrating in that period. I have to take responsibility for that because I have given them the confidence to go out and pass the ball and maybe put too many footballers on and Sunderland said, 'we're not going to allow you to do that'
“Great credit to them, they put us on the back foot, made it very, very difficult for us and then we made it difficult for ourselves to get the ball back.
“I have got to give all the players credit for the second half, they knew they weren't passing it well but they dug in, showed a steely determination to hang on to that three points against a very, very good side who out us right on the back foot and made it very, very difficult for us.”
Grant revealed that recalling goalkeeper Paul Gallacher for Jamie Ashdown had been an easy decision - but praised the on-loan Pompey man for his attitude.
“It wasn't a difficult decision,” said Grant. “Jamie put both hands up and said it's the worst he's played in two years in the two games. I knew that because I know what Jamie Ashdown is all about. He has great qualities and he is going to be a massive keeper and I am determined to try and keep hold of him.
“I am very fortunate that I have two goalkeepers like Gall and him, and Gall deserves to be in the side. He has kept a clean sheet again and he will stay in the side and it's up to Jamie now to be as determined as Gall was. Gall had done nothing wrong before Jamie came in, it was just a decision I felt I had to make.”