City boss Glenn Roeder this morning told Canary fans the news they were desperate to hear as crowd favourite Darren Huckerby looks set to be involved in tomorrow's Championship clash with Sheffield United at Bramall Lane.
The City winger has missed the last three games with a groin complaint ? widely assumed to be connected to his on-going hip problem ? but Roeder revealed that Huckerby would be travelling with the squad to South Yorkshire, barring any last minute hiccups.
The Canaries have missed his attacking flair in the last three matches ? in which they have picked up just one point ? and with the crowd-pleaser back in the limelight, the travelling supporters will be hoping he can conjure up some magic and bring three vital points back to Norfolk.
“Huckerby will be ok to travel,” said Roeder at this morning's Colney Press call. “He trained yesterday and hopefully there will be no reaction this morning, he'll train again today and he will travel with the squad.”
And with the City talisman on the road to recovery, would he be thrust straight back into the starting line-up?
“Not necessarily,” added the Norwich chief. “But he keeps himself super fit and, I say this kindly, he is a fitness freak. He's always working out in the gym and he keeps himself well toned and if he was fit enough to start, who knows?
“But I'd like to be able to involve him if I can. He has an athleticism that you are born with. I remember seeing one of his first games for Lincoln, when I was manager at Watford, and I remember seeing someone with a huge amount of pace but someone who needed breaks in between his short bursts.
“He has developed better stamina, although during games he does need to be reminded to work back harder. But everyone has known that for 10 years.”
With striking options thin on the ground, Roeder also revealed that teenage Academy striker Luke Daley could be involved in the 16 for a second successive game. His appearance on the substitutes bench in Tuesday's disappointing 1-0 home defeat to Stoke certainly raised a few eyebrows.
But with last season's bright hope Chris Martin ? and there will be more on him later – still not able to force his way into Roeder's thoughts, the City boss admitted that the Northampton-born striker's raw pace was likely to keep him involved in the first-team set-up for a little while longer.
And with a professional contract on the horizon, it has certainly been an exciting week for the 18-year-old.
“Luke Daley might travel too. His pace gives him a squeak of a chance. This morning he's going to be offered a pro contract so that is pretty good for him.”
As for Daley's former Academy pals Martin and Michael Spillane, Roeder again threw down a huge gauntlet at their feet as the two Canary hopefuls struggle to impress the City boss.
Not the first time this season, their attitude and work rate was brought into question and Roeder believes they may have “had it too easy” before his reign. Slowly but surely there are signs that the penny is starting to drop. But Roeder was keen to stress that there was still plenty of hard graft ahead.
“Chris is a little bit down the pecking order. He's lost some weight and is working harder than he has done for some time but he's going to have to be patient.
“He's had it too easy. Young players here have had it too easy, Spillane is the same. They've been told too many good things about themselves and it has done them no good at all. They need to be a bit more hungry.
“We have brought in young players from other clubs who are miles better. They have got to work hard if they want to stay at Norwich. I think for too long they have thought it is a joyride here and it's not. But they've both got futures ? at the moment. It's in their hands, not mine.”
Back to more pressing matters and there was mixed news on the injury front with the Canary chief left frustrated with the potentially lengthy absence of Spanish defender Juan Velasco.
The former Espanyol right-back could be missing for as long as a month and with his contract expiring at the end of the current campaign, the Sevilla-born player will not have too much time to earn an extended deal at Carrow Road.
“He has picked up an injury and it's a nuisance,” Roeder added. “He pulled a thigh muscle at Coventry and it's a concern. He is only on a short-term contract as well but that's life I suppose.
“Jon (Otsemobor) came in the other night and I thought he did as well as he's done for a long, long time ? especially the first-half. That is how I would expect him to play all of the time; stepping forward, showing bursts of energy like he did. But he doesn't always do that.”
There was some positive news, however, with City winger Luke Chadwick making good progress after his shoulder operation in the New Year. Lee Croft may even see his right-wing sparring partner back involved before the end of the season. Definitely a case of 'watch this space!'
“Luke has started to do the warm-ups with us, but he's not ready for contact yet. Don't rule him out. Chaddy's goal is to be available for the last few games of the season. He's had a great recovery and has worked his socks off.”
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