Carrow Road in ecstasy as Holt scores winner
Norwich City defender Adam Drury saluted Grant Holt after his injury-time winner against Reading – but insisted his skipper brings so much more to the side than just goals.
As the man who captained Norwich to promotion to the Premiership in 2004, Drury knows the rest of the players look to their leader for inspiration and has been impressed with the way Holt has taken to the role both on and off the field.
Those broad shoulders aren’t just handy for bulldozing defenders, although that’s exactly what they were used for against Reading when his desire to get in front of Ian Harte at the back post kept Norwich firmly in the promotion picture.
And Drury admitted he can’t think of anyone better to lead the Canaries. When asked what Holt brings to the side, the veteran defender was well aware the man of the moment was within earshot.
“He’s all right,” joked Drury, who had his hands full all afternoon against the Royals in trying to keep Jimmy Kebe quiet. “No, seriously, you can see what he brings to the side with his passion and the way that he puts himself about. He never gives in and you can see that. The other lads feed off that.”
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As the elation subsided at Carrow Road on Saturday following yet another late show from the Canaries, there was the overriding feeling that justice had finally been served. Holt’s dismissal at the Madejski Stadium helped the Royals rescue a point after being 3-1 down in November but it was City who were to benefit from a couple of refereeing decisions this time.
Jem Karacan can have few complaints about his sending-off for a late tackle on David Fox but the Royals felt aggrieved at not being awarded a penalty when Jay Tabb was pulled back by the former Colchester man at the start of the second half.
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“It’s down to the referee – I thought we had a shout for a penalty in the first half on Chrissy Martin,” added Drury. “It’s one of those things – sometimes you get them, sometimes you don’t.
“I didn’t get a great view of the sending-off. It looked like he was late and he caught him. It’s always down to the ref. The ref at their place sent Holty off and it’s happened to them today.”
City had to wait until injury time to press home their man advantage but also had to be wary of Reading on the break with the likes of Kebe and Shane Long a constant concern to the back line.
But once City can smell victory under manager Paul Lambert, they are under strict instructions to go for the win.
It cost them against Burnley last weekend but more often than not it has worked in their favour.
“Sometimes you have to take that risk if you want win games and get to the top of the table,” added Drury. “When they went down to 10 men we made the pitch really big but with people like Kebe in their side then they are going to look to break on you.
“He (Kebe) is lively – he is one of the better players in this league and the way they play to break on us all the time plays to his strengths.
“But we try and play wide and expansive football, pushing both of our full-backs up the pitch.”
Drury described events in injury time as “unbelievable” and hopes the club can build on this winning momentum to consolidate their position among the front-runners in the division.
“Anyone can beat anybody in this league. We are just concentrating on ourselves – we know that if we win enough games we will be there or thereabouts at the end of the season,” he said.