Windass eyes Canaries scalp

CHRIS LAKEY Dean Windass, the man at the centre of one of the biggest controversies in Norwich City history, has the Canaries in his sights as he searches for the "sweetest moment" in his long career.

CHRIS LAKEY

Dean Windass, the man at the centre of one of the biggest controversies in Norwich City history, has the Canaries in his sights as he searches for the "sweetest moment" in his long career.

It was Windass who inadvertently prompted the departure of Martin O'Neill back in 1995 when the then City manager tried to prise him away from Hull City.

Robert Chase, chairman at the time, refused to sanction the transfer, supposedly on the grounds that the £700,000 fee was too much to pay for a 26-year-old - and a fuming O'Neill packed his bags.


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Windass' career has now turned full circle and, after spells at seven other clubs he has returned to his hometown club, on loan from Bradford City, desperate to help them out of the relegation zone.

Twelve years after Chase vetoed his purchase on the grounds of age, a weekend hat-trick against Southend took his tally to seven goals in nine games. Now City themselves are in his sights when the teams clash at the KC Stadium on Friday afternoon.

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Windass, who celebrated his 38th birthday on April Fool's Day, says that keeping Hull in the Championship will rank as the greatest achievement of his 18-year career.

"Everyone has goals in life and my goal, because I'm Hull City through and through, was to keep them up," says the man who has scored well over 200 times since joining the Tigers for the first time in 1991. "It would be the biggest achievement in my career.

"One more goal will make it 20 for the season and that will be the fourth consecutive time I have scored 20 goals or more. I am not someone who would come here and embarrass myself.

"Paul Jewell (Wigan manager) had a go at me for not signing for him two years ago because I could not play at that level (the Premiership) but the Championship is my level. Paul Jewell kept telling me that I should not be playing in League One."

Peter Grant said: "Dean's been about for a long time and great credit to him. He seems to have been a great influence in the games for Hull as soon as he went there.

"You want to have someone with his great enthusiasm and with all that experience.

"Dean is in the twilight of his career, but he appreciates every game. I'm trying to get that enthusiasm into players of 17, 18 or 19.

"He is another one like Dion Dublin and a great example to younger players."

Grant admitted there had been one or two full-blooded encounters with Windass, north and south of the border.

He said: "He left me with six stitches in my shin once but perhaps he knew he was going to get that from me and decided to get his retaliation in first.

"But you don't play that number of games without looking after yourself well and Dean's done that all through his career. He has that mental strength.

"He knows what it takes to be at the top and is still banging in goals in what is a very tough league, and he's got the rewards for the way he's looked after himself."

Dickson Etuhu (pictured) is expected to be fit for Friday's trip to Hull after missing City's defeat at Colchester on Saturday through illness. Skipper Adam Drury also has a chance of returning following an ankle injury which kept him sidelined at Layer Road. But fellow full-back Jurgen Colin is rated "doubtful".

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