Lambert: Holt playing catch-up

PUBLISHED: 15:22 17 September 2010 | UPDATED: 10:35 14 October 2010

Michael Bailey

Paul Lambert has admitted Norwich City captain Grant Holt is still playing catch-up after missing out on pre-season

The striker underwent ankle surgery at the end of last season, while a thigh injury ruled the 29-year-old out of most of City's pre-season friendlies.

Paul Lambert has admitted Norwich City captain Grant Holt is still playing catch-up after missing out on pre-season

The striker underwent ankle surgery at the end of last season, while a thigh injury ruled the 29-year-old out of most of City's pre-season friendlies.

Although last season's leading scorer has been involved in almost every game since the season started, he was substituted during the second half of City's 3-1 defeat at Doncaster in midweek and has just one Championship goal to his name so far.

And Norwich boss Lambert acknowledged Holt is still down on his fitness levels compared to his team-mates.

“That's what you've got to remember, that he missed most of it (pre-season) and it's not easy to get it back when you're just playing games all the time.

“I took him off on Tuesday because it was my decision to take him off and it's my prerogative to do what I want, and I just thought he had done well for the duration he was on and he looked a bit tired towards the end of the game. So I put Oli Johnson on to see if we could get something.

“But he is still playing catch-up, he definitely is.”

Lambert has no new injury worries since Tuesday's defeat as City prepare to make the long trip to struggling Preston tomorrow (3pm), but Zak Whitbread and Steven Smith remain out of contention, although both should feature in a friendly at Colney next week as they recover from long injury absences.

Lambert added: “Preston are under pressure to get a result. Darren (Ferguson) has done really fine there and it's early in the season. We know how hard it's going to be.”

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