Huckerby: Dion needs our support
CHRIS LAKEY Darren Huckerby says the Canaries must take some of the weight off veteran striker Dion Dublin's shoulders next season. The 38-year-old Dublin has agreed to extend his career by another 12 months, and Huckerby says it's time to stop relying on the skills and experience accumulated over 18 seasons.
Darren Huckerby says the Canaries must take some of the weight off veteran striker Dion Dublin's shoulders next season.
The 38-year-old Dublin has agreed to extend his career by another 12 months, and Huckerby says it's time to stop relying on the skills and experience accumulated over 18 seasons.
“It's a significant signing for the club because we haven't got that many players, but you are talking about someone who's 38 years old,” said Huckerby.
“We shouldn't have to rely on him so much. It was good to have him here last season, but next season I hope he's used only when he is needed.
“It is time for the rest of the team to use his experience to our advantage. He's valuable around the dressing room passing on his experience and knowledge to everyone and that's important.”
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Dublin was brought in by Nigel Worthington last September and although the intention was to use him sparingly, injuries meant he became a regular starter - in defence and attack.
But Huckerby admitted he thought the former Manchester United man was on his way for good.
“I was sure he was going to leave,” Huckerby said. “I know his family situation and that he wanted to be closer to home.
“But we're obviously very happy he coming back - but hopefully we won't have to rely on him all the time.
“I have known Dion many years and I played with him when he was at the top of his game, the very top of his game. Even though he is still a very, very good player he isn't at that point now and we have to use him properly. We're very lucky to have him because he brings us so much - but we shouldn't have to rely on him so much.
“Let's not forget, he is a 38-year-old man who is coming to the end of his career. It's not like he's 21 any more.”
Canaries boss Peter Grant has made his first major sweep of the City dressing room, releasing five players and giving six others, including Dublin, new deals.
Attention now turns to the transfer market, with right-back John Otsemobor apparently close to agreeing a move from Crewe.
However, Huckerby knows only too well the difficulties manager Peter Grant is likely to face.
“It is hard because we are not in the best position to sign players - we haven't got an abundance of money, we didn't finish that high in the league and you have to be realistic, geographically it is not the best choice for some players. If you're in the Midlands there are clubs all over the place within easy distance. It's a lovely club, but you don't realised that until you get here.,
“I think you have to be very lucky with the players who come here or you have to pay serious money in this day and age.”
Grant's priority is a goalkeeper, but he could find himself in a head-to-head battle with East Anglian rival Jim Magilton on that score.
Grant is desperate to bring in a new stopper after the shenanigans of last season when he used five different keepers - but he could find Magilton standing in his way.
David Marshall is believed to be his number one target, but because the picture is clouded by a number of issues at Celtic Park, Neil Alexander and Danny Coyne are also high on his wanted list.
However, Alexander's release by Cardiff City has sparked a rush of interest, with City joined by Sheffield Wednesday and Ipswich - the same three clubs who have also been linked with Coyne, who has been released by Burnley.
Hearts have also joined the race to sign Scotland international Alexander, who is clearly happy with the interest being shown in his future.
“I have had a very positive reaction so far,” he said. “There's a lot of opportunity out there and there's been a lot of interest.
“It's going to be a case of just choosing from which of the clubs are interested. There's a good few clubs in England to be honest and I'm quite happy with the way things are going right now.”
Alexander's place at Cardiff could be taken by Hartlepool's Dimitrios Konstantopolous, who is available on a free transfer after rejecting the offer of a new contract.
Hartlepool boss Danny Wilson is clearly preparing to lose Konstantopolous and has snapped up former Norwich youngster Arran Lee-Barratt, who has been released by Coventry.