Hucks backs fans' concern

Norwich frontman Darren Huckerby yesterday echoed the fans' frustrations at the club's lack of close season transfer activity. Championship rivals Derby County outmuscled Nigel Worthington in the race to sign coveted Luton striker Steve Howard, who clinched a million pound Pride Park switch over the weekend.

Norwich frontman Darren Huckerby yesterday echoed the fans' frustrations at the club's lack of close season transfer activity.

Championship rivals Derby County outmuscled Nigel Worthington in the race to sign coveted Luton striker Steve Howard, who clinched a million pound Pride Park switch over the weekend.

Huckerby expressed his disappointment at the dearth of fresh arrivals following Norwich's 1-1 pre-season draw north of the border at Falkirk.

"We thought there'd be a few additions," admitted the 30-year-old. "It doesn't seem that way at the minute so we're going to have to battle away with what we've got.


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"It's difficult. We were all expecting a couple of signings while we were here (in Scotland), but nothing's materialised."

Asked whether the players were demoralised by the lack of new arrivals, he said: "It's not so much the players, it demoralises the fans. I would have thought they would have been expecting a signing or two. I know the gaffer's desperate to get a few signings in but it doesn't seem to be playing that way the minute.

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"We've still got a few parachute payments and this and that and you'd have thought that we'd have at least dabbled a little bit into the transfer market but at the minute it seems like it's not going to happen."

Worthington could not hide his acute disappointment as news of 30-year-old Howard's move to the Midlands cast a shadow over the final day of the Canaries' trip to Scotland.

He admitted that City's own offer for Howard had fallen way short of the eventual price paid by new Rams boss Billy Davies for the former Hartlepool man, his first signing since arriving at Pride Park.

"I'm hugely disappointed with that because there was a lot of time and effort spent trying to make that one happen," said Worthington.

"I lost target number one in Rob Hulse. We've now lost Howard. People say what's plan C? It depends how far down the leagues we go and exactly what quality we want to bring in, so we'll have a look, but one thing I will say is if it's not right to help us and take us forward, then I won't do it."

Both City chairman Roger Munby and chief executive Neil Doncaster have publicly reassured supporters that new signings will be made, but while maintaining a diplomatic stance in public, Worthington clearly feels he lacks the financial muscle to get the players he really wants.

Asked whether City were close to matching the eventual price for Howard, he said: "The deal that finished up? No."

But as to whether he feared he was running out of time to bring in new faces with the Championship season a fortnight away, he added: "I'm not worried at all. What I mean by that is that we're trying for players and we're not getting them through the finances. So if that's the case then I and the staff will work with the players that we've got, make sure we get the best out of them and do the best we can."

Injury jinxed defender Mathieu Louis-Jean yesterday handed Worthington a timely boost when he took part in his first full training session.

The French right back played just two matches for the Canaries last season after rupturing his hamstring.

Louis-Jean only arrived at Carrow Road last summer in the swap deal that took Gary Holt to Nottingham Forest.

The 30-year-old found himself behind Jurgen Colin and Craig Fleming in the pecking order after working his way back to fitness.

Louis-Jean went through his paces alongside the rest of Worthington's first team squad on the Carrow Road pitch following the club's annual squad photocall.

"It was his first morning back with the group again," said Worthington. "He's joined in the early part of it and then we had to take him out because we want to build him up nice and steadily.

"The level of training the other lads are at is very intense. But hopefully we can get him through and the next couple of weeks we can go from there."

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