'Real bargain' - Darren Huckerby on free agent after £3.5m move from Coventry City to Norwich

Darren Huckerby insists whoever picks up former Coventry City defender Sam McCallum this summer will be getting a ‘real bargain’ following the player’s release by Norwich.

The 23-year-old full-back was sold to the Canaries in the January transfer window of 2020 for a deal that could reach £3.5million based on the player's success and immediately loaned back for he remainder of the season. McCallum, whom City had plucked from non-league obscurity, then returned for a season-long loan for the duration of 2020/21, making 41 Championship appearances and scoring one goal.

On his return to Carrow Road he was again farmed out as part of his development, and spent a season at QPR, albeit his progress set back by a hamstring tear, for which he required surgery that kept him out for several months, limiting his appearances to just 19 games.

READ MORE: Ex-Coventry boss reveals 'significant' surgery & sets out future intentions

READ MORE: Fan who racially abused Kasey Palmer handed lengthy ban

He then made 25 showings for Norwich in 2022/23 and 34 last term, including substitute appearances in the play-off semi-finals against Leeds United as he spent most of last season as second choice to Dimitris Giannoulis.

Former Sky Blues favourite Huckerby is a regular at Carrow Road where he ended his English playing career. Asked about McCallum’s progress and why he thinks the player has been let go by Norwich - who missed out on promotion this season after being knocked out by Leeds in the play-off semi-finals - the 48-year-old told CoventryLive: “I thought he did pretty well towards the end of his time at Norwich. When he first arrived he was just a young lad and then he was in and out when they were in the Premier League. And then he had Giannoulis ahead of him, but I thought that when he played he held his own, and his release is probably more about him playing regular first team football than not being wanted as such.”

He added: “The manager (David Wagner) has gone and I think Sam was on half decent wages so they may be cutting down a little bit. He is obviously a good player and towards the end of his spell I really thought he was showing what he could do. It’s one of those where he just needs to be playing first team football week in and week out.

“He played as a full-back for Norwich but maybe he’s better suited to being a wing-back because he’s so good going forward. I am sure there will be plenty of other clubs looking for a real bargain on a free transfer.”

Asked if he sees McCallum at another top end Championship club, he said: “I think so, he’s obviously been at one in Norwich so whoever gets him will do OK. He’s at the age now, 23, where he needs regular football and go and establish himself somewhere because that’s something he hasn’t managed to do at Norwich.

“He obviously did well at Coventry when he was there but they have moved on since then as well, so it will be interesting to see what happens and where he goes.”

As for whether he feels it’s ever good idea for player to go back to a club, he added: “It depends what they have done before, to be honest. Norwich bought him when he was young so it’s not like he’s done ten years and going back. To be honest he’s still a young lad with a lot to prove. He went for a lot of money but wasn’t able to play week in and week out, so it’s no good looking back on your career and thinking you only played 200 games.”

Coventry City are understood to be looking for a left-back but would you take McCallum on a free? Tell us HERE