City Man of the Match Darren Huckerby dropped his biggest hint yet that he sees himself as becoming part of the Norfolk furniture for years to come in the aftermath of yesterday's 2-0 victory over play-off hopefuls Burnley.
It was a result that not only left the Canaries little more than one win short of this season's finishing line, but also found Huckerby getting back towards his teasing best as he first set Dion Dublin up for Norwich's second minute opener before – some 90 minutes later – driving half the length of the pitch en route to teeing up Ched Evans for that all-important second in the final minute of normal time.
In between and Huckerby had twice come close to producing one of his trademark darts in from the left to be followed by a curling, right-foot effort inside the far post as a season once dogged by hip and groin niggles starts to come to thrilling life.
The fact that the 32-year-old could be in the last four weeks of his Canary career is starting to cross many-a-mind. Canary boss Glenn Roeder suggested that he would wait until the Canaries were finally safe in the Championship before starting to formally sit down with the three senior players for whom retirement is not on the cards – Gary Doherty, Mark Fotheringham and, of course, Huckerby are all free to walk this summer.
“You know as much as I do,” said Huckerby, quizzed as to whether there was a 'contract latest' after picking up his latest Man of the Match bubbly for his prominent part in Burnley's downfall.
“No-one has spoken to me,” he added. “But I'm not trying to put the club under any pressure. If they want to do something, they can. If they don't, they don't.”
For all the talk of swan-songs in the States, there is a very real sense that Huckerby sees himself and his family following the likes of the Gunns, the Goss' and the Flemings' in becoming part of the Norfolk countryside; that perhaps – once the boots are hung up for good – a role may yet be found for one of the club's all-time greats.
“I haven't got to prove anything now,” he said. “If the club comes to me now and says: 'That's it, Darren, we've had a great time…' – that's life. I wouldn't hold any grudges. And I see myself working for the club some way down the line in years to come, so it's not a problem to me either way.”
City's opener with just 61 seconds on the clock was very much a case of rolling back the years as the one-time Highfield Road pairing split the Clarets apart moments after Jamie Cureton and Darel Russell had threatened to do the same.
“I know where he's going to be and we've done it a lot over the last ten years and it's always nice to see the big man score,” said Huckerby, as Dublin's instinctive run towards the near post not only wrong-footed his marker, but also gave Huckerby all the angle he needed to give the 38-year-old the simplest of five-yard tuck-ins.
“We've played a long time together and, like I say, we've contributed to eachother's goals over the years and I'm delighted for him to get a goal.”
Once again, Huckerby found himself stationed on the right for the start of the game only to switch to his more favoured left mid-way through the opening period. In fairness to his opposite number, Matty Pattison, the 21-year-old produced an excellent effort off his 'wrong' wing and 'wrong' foot to counter-balance the fun and games Huckerby was having against veteran Burnley full-back Graham Alexander.
“It wasn't my choice,” he said. “But I'll play where the manager wants me to play. I prefer the left, but if he wants to put me on the right and that's the only way I'm going to play, then I'll play on the right…”
For now, Roeder appears determined to stick to his one, out-and-out winger only policy – hence the sight of Lee Croft sat among the unused substitutes.
“Crofty's come in and done really well – he's a good player. So whichever way the gaffer wants to use us, he'll use us.”
Whether City were now just three points from the finishing line was not something Huckerby appeared unduly concerned about; just keep winning games and let the points take care of themselves appeared to be his message.
“We've just got to keep racking up the wins,” he said. “It was a very important game today – especially at home. And especially after last week; we needed to bounce back well and I thought we did. We created a lot of chances and we probably should have won by more, to be honest.
But, fair play to them , they're a good team and quite high in the table, so we'll take any points that we can.”
That they deserved all three yesterday wasn't in too much doubt. City keeper David Marshall had two saves of note to make either side of the interval; otherwise, it was the Canaries forcing the pace of the game. Overall, it was one of Norwich's more comfortable victories. And not an Andy D'Urso in sight as the Billericay official managed to ruin last weekend's trip to then league leaders Bristol City.
“We played very well in patches again – and created a lot of chances – so after last week it's nice to get three points when we deserve it.”
Individually, he probably deserved a goal – one more strike to take him ever nearer that 50-goal mark. The fact that his 200-game milestone now looks set to be reached at Portman Road next weekend will provide yet another juicy sub-plot to a game that is never short of a story or two.
“It's a massive match and I think someone said it's my 200th game next week, as well. Hopefully I'll be involved and it'll be nice to play the 200th game against Ipswich and, hopefully, get the win,” he said.