Grant heaps praise upon City hit men
CHRIS LAKEY Peter Grant heaped praise on goalscorers Dion Dublin and Darren Huckerby as the Canaries hammered another nail into Leeds' relegation coffin. Dublin was on target just before the hour mark to level matters and Huckerby wrapped up a vital three points with the winner 12 minutes from time - and then hit the woodwork in time added on.
Peter Grant heaped praise on goalscorers Dion Dublin and Darren Huckerby as the Canaries hammered another nail into Leeds' relegation coffin.
Dublin was on target just before the hour mark to level matters and Huckerby wrapped up a vital three points with the winner 12 minutes from time - and then hit the woodwork in time added on.
“I was very pleased Dion got it because he had obviously led by example, and obviously Huckerby after the criticism I had given him midweek, I thought he responded magnificently well, said Grant.
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“I thought he was a big, big threat all throughout the game if we had just fed the ball to him earlier, especially first half. But it is fitting that he scored the winning goal. I though his wonderful effort at the end summed up his performance.”
A constant criticism of Huckerby is that he hasn't cut it at the highest level, although spells at Coventry, Leeds and Manchester City in the Premiership and a total transfer fees of almost £10m, would tend to suggest otherwise.
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Grant clearly believes the 30-year-old still has plenty left in a tank that helped him destroy Leeds.
“He would still hurt you in the Premier League, there is no doubt about that,” said Grant.
“All top players are judged by their final thing, whether it's final selection of pass or the final shot at goal and sometimes he will frustrate you because he gets in great areas and then delivers a poor ball.
“He knows that, he gets frustrated with it, but there is no doubt he's a match winner and I think you can see that throughout the team.
“If we do our jobs properly and concentrate we've got more match winners than most, especially people like Darren Huckereby and Robert Earnshaw when he's fully fit.
“But to do that you have to make sure you do all the other jobs properly to give these guys the freedom to go and express themselves. And we have got to accept that. Since I have come in here I have never asked him to defend, that's why I get frustrated with him. I say, 'I don't wasn't you to defend, but what you have to do is be more clinical at the other end', and today he did that.”
Grant gave a debut to Mark Fotheringham and started with Chris Brown down the middle, with Huckerby and Lee Croft on the flanks. But he changed it around so that Huckerby was given more licence to roam down the middle.
“If you play him as a second striker he will end up outside left anyway, that's the way he plays,” said Grant. “So we tried to balance that today with bringing Fotheringham in and switching him to left hand side and saying play on the inside and let Darren just flow so it is still the 4-4-2 but Darren is further up the pitch.
“Then he started to get too isolated away from Brownie, so it's things we need to keep working on. But he is more than capable of that.
“He's capable of it if he just concentrates a little bit more and I thought he did that well today.”
While Huckerby ravaged Leeds' right flank, Dublin, back after missing the midweek defeat by Wolves because of injury, was a calming influence at the back and a danger up front .
“I was absolutely delighted on Thursday because I saw him out running, but it was still touch and go,” said Grant. “The injury was like a bruised bone, the pain is excruciating with that because it's bone on bone really, so it was always a late call.
“I always think with experienced players they understand it. If it is not a muscle strain they can get away with that's sort of injury, but other guys who don't know their body that well probably wouldn't have played,
“But, the big man played and I thought he was exceptional. I thought he led by example. He is a massive player for me in everything he does and he has been a massive player since I came in here, just with his character. When he's not been playing he's brilliant round and about the boys.”