It's 'touch and go' for Huckerby

CHRIS WISE Key-man Darren Huckerby has a chance of returning to action against Burnley on Sunday - but he remains “touch and go” for the crunch showdown at Carrow Road.


Key-man Darren Huckerby has a chance of returning to action against Burnley on Sunday - but he remains “touch and go” for the crunch showdown at Carrow Road.

The Norwich City frontman is making a good recovery after spending nearly three weeks on the sidelines with the groin injury he picked up during the 3-0 defeat at Coventry which precipitated the Canaries' recent slump.

He is now back in light training and is in manager Nigel Worthington's thoughts as the must-win fixture against the Clarets approaches. But there is no way the seriousness of the current situation will prompt the under-pressure manager to take a risk with Huckerby's fitness.

As far as Worthington is concerned the position is perfectly straightforward - the Norwich talisman will play if he is ready and will watch the game from the sidelines if he is not.

“Darren is doing quite well but he is very much touch and go for Sunday,” said Worthington, who has been given two games to turn around the club's fortunes by majority shareholders Delia Smith and Michael Wynn Jones.

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“He is still in his rehab and for him to play he has got to be fit. He has got to be 100 percent medically fit and he will have to be 100 percent sure in his own mind that he is ready.

“If he isn't then he could aggravate the injury and be out for another month, six weeks.

“Darren is a very fit boy so his lack of games recently wouldn't be a problem. It's just a case of whether he will be available or not.

“Once I get the medical situation from the physios we can work with Darren - but he will have the final shout on the situation.”

Worthington doesn't need reminding that his side have taken just one point from a possible nine since Huckerby picked up his injury, with last weekend's 3-1 defeat Plymouth prompting the strongly-worded statement from his employers. But he knows only too well that his job - and that of the players too - is to counteract his absence, and wasn't pinning all his hopes on the fitness of one individual today as he looked ahead to Sunday's game.

Asked about City struggling without their flying frontman he commented: “The facts back that up, it certainly appears that way. But we should not be, by any stretch of the imagination, a one-man team. When Darren is out we struggle and that is something we as a group should be looking to improve on.

“I don't think it is the time for excuses. Darren got injured, Adam Drury also got injured, other people come in and you get on with it. We have not got a big squad, that is a fact, but you work with what you have got.”

Worthington confirmed he was contemplating changes after the no-show at Home Park, and that could mean a first start for veteran Dion Dublin, who impressed on his debut as a substitute against Plymouth and received some glowing praise from his boss today.

The 37-year-old striker, who joined City last week on a season-long contract, could feature up front, with top scorer Robert Earnshaw just behind him after the manager said he had no intention of reverting to a straight 4-4-2 against Burnley.

“Dion has been first class, very, very good,” he said. “I was delighted with his imput to the game last Saturday and indeed after the game as well. He was with us for a few days before Plymouth and saw the difference between our performance on the training ground and the one in the game. He's an old pro, who has been around, seen it, done it - and he said his piece, which was good.”

Drury (ankle) and Ian Henderson (knee) will both be on the sidelines at the weekend and they could be joined by midfielder Andy Hughes, who picked up a groin injury in training this week.

“He has felt it in the last couple of days,” said Worthington. “It's nothing major and we will see what he is like at the weekend.”