Grant pleased with Huckerby's return

Norwich boss Peter Grant admitted he was a relieved man yesterday after Darren Huckerby answered City's attacking SOS in the penalty shoot out Carling Cup win at Rochdale.

Norwich boss Peter Grant admitted he was a relieved man yesterday after Darren Huckerby answered City's attacking SOS in the penalty shoot-out Carling Cup win at Rochdale.

The Canaries' reigning player-of-the-year emerged unscathed after being forced into a 120-minute overtime shift on his first senior outing of an early season dogged by groin and hip problems.

Huckerby also managed to hold his nerve with a successful spot kick in City's gruelling 4-3 shoot-out victory. Grant revealed his hands were tied after Norwich travelled to the north west without strike duo Jamie Cureton (knock) and David Strihavka (bug) before goal scorer Dion Dublin limped off in extra time.

"Needs must," said Grant. "I didn't want to play Darren. I wanted to keep the balance - just to give Darren a hand in coming back into the game. But I felt we had the opportunity to play him, so we're pleased to have Darren back.

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"Unfortunately we had to keep him on a lot longer than we wanted to. I was delighted to see him back but he knows he's short of where he wants to be. Saying that, he still had an influence on the game and that's what you ask for with players like Darren."

Spotland spot kick hero David Marshall also praised Huckerby's endurance.

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"I couldn't believe Hucks, that he managed to get through it," said Marshall. "There are a few injuries, but everybody's the same. Everybody gets injuries so we just have to get on with it and deal with it. We got through it and now we've just got to look forward to Cardiff."

Marshall admitted the Canaries had been found wanting again against lower league opposition after Grant's criticism of his side following the previous round's home romp over Barnet.

"We were pretty poor first half, but we know that," he said. "I think it's just a case of concentrating and getting back to what we know what we're good at. Obviously it was a difficult place to come. Stoke came and ended up losing. It's a cup game; it is a hard place to go - but we have to look at our first half performance and make sure that we don't start like that again. Against Championship sides we would not get anything out of the game playing like that."

Grant singled out his compatriot's all round display after the Scottish international had booked City's passage into the third round with two penalty saves.

"Two fantastic saves, but I thought his general play was good," said the Norwich boss. "He had good saves during the game as well but we know what he's capable of. I'm just disappointed people are getting so many chances."

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