Hucks hopes to make an impact

Norwich City talisman Darren Huckerby is hoping to put a nightmare start to the season firmly behind him when he lines up against Crystal Palace next weekend.

Norwich City talisman Darren Huckerby is hoping to put a nightmare start to the season firmly behind him when he lines up against Crystal Palace next weekend.

The 31-year-old was crocked on the second day of pre-season and for the past nine weeks has been furiously battling a hip and groin problem to get back to full fitness.

Hucks went the distance in the win over Rochdale in the Carling Cup and was a second-half substitute in the defeat to Cardiff at Carrow Road and is adamant he close to being back to his scintillating best.

“Yeah, it's not been a great nine weeks to be honest. Doing it on the second day of pre-season and it's all been fighting it and fighting it since then,” said Huckerby.

“Hopefully now I can get on with playing a little bit of football and hopefully get back in the team and start creating chances and start scoring goals.

Huckerby, talking to Canaries World, added: “I've trained now eight or nine times with the lads and it's getting back to where I was hopefully I'm still a little bit off and I hoping to be back in the team come the next game.

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“I'd like to have a bit more match practice. But I always want to play games and I'll be looking forward to starting the next game hopefully.

“At Rochdale it was a bit more than I had hoped for. The gaffer told me at half time I would be playing five more minutes and I ended up playing the whole game. We had a problem with Shacks' injury so we couldn't really change it. It was nice to be back out there and I'm glad I got through the whole game.”

Meanwhile, City skipper Jason Shackell believes the Canaries have what it takes to come back stronger after the international break.

The 22-year-old, currently on the sidelines nursing an ankle ligament injury, said Norwich needed to use the lack of matches to their advantage, rather than dwelling on the disappointment of the last two league games.

The Canaries positive start to the campaign was nudged off-course slightly following defeats at Hull and then at home to Cardiff.

But Shackell, who missed the defeat to the Bluebirds with the knock suffered in the Carling Cup win over Rochdale, said it was important to look at the positives and not to be downhearted.

"We've had a couple of not great results and we know we can perform a lot better than we are doing," said Shackell. "But it's always good to look at the positives. We are still in the cup and we've had some half decent results when we know we've not been playing well, so we will get our heads down again and get ready for a big push after the break."

Shackell himself hoped to be near a return to training. City fans would have been fearing the worst after hearing Shackell had damaged ankle ligaments at Spotland - what with midfielder Jimmy Smith and Mark Fotheringham already long-term casualties with similar problems.

But it appears Shackell's injury was not as severe as his two team-mates', with the Academy product setting his sights on a quick return to training.

"Yeah, it's not too bad," he said. "I've had a bit of work done on it and a little injection and that, and it's coming along ok. I've just got to see how it goes the next few days and fingers crossed I'm back in training sooner rather than later.

"It's going along ok. It hasn't done a lot better than I thought it would and it's not sort of hindering me a lot either. It's not too bad, and I'm slowly progressing and I'm just desperate to get back in training."

Shackell had to watch from the stands as the Canaries contrived to turn a good display against Cardiff into three dropped points. And he admitted it made for uncomfortable viewing.

"Like every professional footballer you just want to be out there playing on the pitch," he said. "Whether it's one game or 10 games, you don't want to miss any games.

Obviously I personally didn't enjoy watching Cardiff, I wanted to be out there with the boys. But I thought they played quite well to be fair and I thought we were unlucky, so now we've just got to get our heads down over the next couple of weeks and make sure we are ready to go for Palace."