Hucks welcomes return of togetherness
It should be a case of 'altogether now' as Norwich City's players run out at Derby looking for a third straight win - and Darren Huckerby for one is revelling in the newly found atmosphere of harmony.
It should be a case of 'altogether now' as Norwich City's players run out at Derby today looking for a third straight win - and Darren Huckerby for one is revelling in the newly found atmosphere of harmony.
Many supporters seemed at the end of their tether last season as the Canaries failed to produce the goods on a consistent basis, with protests and angry chants becoming common-place towards the end of a bitterly disappointing campaign.
But it's a case of so far, so good this time around with Nigel Worthington's team playing a pleasing brand of a football and winning two of their opening three matches, and the supporters have responded by putting last term's grievances to the back of their minds and getting fully behind their team.
As far as Huckerby is concerned the return of the togetherness that was once a feature of life at Carrow Road has been the most notable feature of the season so far - and he knows the fans will continue to get right behind their side if they continue to produce the brand of football witnessed in the games against Leeds, Preston and Luton.
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“It has been great so far,” he said. “When you consider what the atmosphere was like at the end of last season I think there has been an amazing turnaround. People have come in and we have changed our philosophy a bit and the fans seem to like what they are seeing.
“The fans aren't stupid. If they don't like the football they are watching they will make their views known. If you try and play attractive football then they will get behind you - and that is what we are trying to do.
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“Long may it continue because it is going to be a long hard season and we need the supporters behind us. No-one is getting carried away here just because we have made a good start - there are a lot of matches to be played yet.
“If we keep getting the backing we have received so far, both at Leeds and in the two games at Carrow Road, then I know all the lads will be more than happy.
“I love playing the game - but it wasn't much fun towards the end of last season. It wasn't very enjoyable, and not just because some of the fans weren't behind us. We weren't performing, one or two people were feeling unsettled and wanted to leave. That's what happens in football sometimes.
“But now everyone seems to be coming together and that's good to see. We seem to be more organised as a team, more disciplined and I really believe we are heading in the right direction now.”
Huckerby insists there will be no negative thoughts in the minds of the players when they go looking for their first away win of the season at Derby, having lost narrowly at Leeds on the opening day despite a decent performance. City are again likely to field a 4-5-1 formation at Pride Park, with the flying frontman providing support for lone striker Robert Earnshaw along with new-boy Lee Croft, and, as far as Hucekrby is concerned, they are positive tactics.
“We will be going there to win the game, make no mistake about that,” he said. “We're pretty solid, while we can score goals at the other end.
“It's a case of so far, so good with the formation in the opening three games. We are confident with it and everyone knows what they should be doing. With the players we have got it has been difficult for teams to keep us quiet over the full 90 minutes, and long may that continue.
“Since Chelsea adopted it a lot of teams do seem to use it, especially away from home - even if they haven't got a big man up front. It certainly seems to suit us.
“It gives us a solid base. We have got a good back-four and three very good midfield players who pass the ball well. They all know there's no point in smacking the ball up to Earnie in the air because we will have no chance so the ball is staying on the ground a lot, which is good.”
Huckerby is delighted with the way he has started the new campaign, even though he feels there is still more to come.
“I am pretty pleased with the way it has gone from a personal point of view, even though it has tended to be in spells more than anything,” he said.
“I thought I was good in the first half at Leeds, I did well against Preston and in the second half against Luton it also went well. There are times as a winger when you don't get the ball as much as you would like and that was the case in the first 45 minutes last Saturday. When I do get plenty of the ball we'll just have to wait and see what happens.”
As for the slightly longer-term future he added: “Eventually it's going to come to an end because I am in my 30s now - but not yet! The older you get you tend to lose a few bits and bobs - but I think I should be all right for a season or two.”
Huckerby is likely to be denied a reunion with Marc Edworthy this afternoon. The ex-Canary was dropped from Derby's starting XI last weekend and is unlikely to be recalled against his former club - and that news didn't displease Huckerby, even though he always likes to see his good friend doing well.
“I spoke to Eddy the other day and he's not sure whether he will be playing so we'll have to wait and see on that,” he said. “To be honest I'd prefer not to play against him. I don't like playing against people I know really well because you don't really enjoy putting one over them. But if I have to I am sure it will be a good battle.”
City have been awarded the League Managers' Association performance of the week award for their 3-2 victory over Luton last weekend.