City striker is relishing tough task
Chris Lakey Canaries hitman Grant Holt is ready to mix it with the toughest defenders that League One can throw at him. Bryan Gunn's big summer signing comes with an impressive reputation, having finished top of last season's scoring charts with Shrewsbury in League Two.
Canaries hitman Grant Holt is ready to mix it with the toughest defenders that League One can throw at him.
Bryan Gunn's big summer signing comes with an impressive reputation, having finished top of last season's scoring charts with Shrewsbury in League Two.
His game is a combination of delicate touch and physical approach which epitomises Gunn's new-look squad - and which Holt believes is vital if City are to make it back to the Championship at the first attempt. So what did Gunn get for his money - estimated to be around �400,000?
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“I work hard, I try and do my best for my team and if people aren't in positions and I'm there I won't shirk responsibility and just stand around and say, 'I'm a centre forward and I stay up front',” said the 28-year-old.
“The manager has obviously had a chat with me - he doesn't want me being outside the penalty box, which I sometimes get criticised for doing too much. But I work hard, I rough people up and try and do my best for the team.”
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It's an eyebrow-raising description, but the 6ft striker has spent most of his career in the lower divisions and knows how League One operates, having played there with Sheffield Wednesday and Nottingham Forest.
“A lot of people who haven't played in this league, and the one below, who haven't experienced it, will realise how hard it is this year,” he said. “It is not a case of, 'we will roll into town as a football club and be able to pass the ball, 10 passes a go', it is a tough league. People will get at you and they will work you hard and we have got to learn to deal with that quickly.
“I think everyone knows we should go up, we've got a good enough squad and I firmly believe that if the players perform as they can we will get promoted, but it's a tough old league and you've got to go to places and grind out results.
“I think what the manager has done is brought in a good mix - he's got the talent, he's got people who can win games, but also he's got the experience where we can hold out, go to away games and take draws.”
Holt has been brought to Carrow Road for one thing only - to either score or create goals.
“That's what I've been brought here to do,” he said. “I'm here to score goals, but it is not about me it's the team. If the team is winning and I'm performing well, as long as someone else goes and scores goals I don't really mind.
“But most importantly I am here to score goals and I am hoping I can do that straight away.
“It's all about getting balls in right areas and I think we have got the players who can certainly produce week in, week out. It's obviously great for a forward like me knowing you have those people around you.”
Holt was one of the last pieces in the transfer jigsaw, and now that pre-season is out of the way, can't wait for the real thing to begin.
“Obviously it has been a long time coming,” he said. “The move took a long time to happen so I'm just looking forward to now hopefully being in the team and getting ready to start.
“It gets to a point where you just can't wait to get going - you have done all your hard work and you've been running and you just want to get on the pitch and show everyone what you're about really.”
Holt believes the sell-out crowd is evidence of just where City ought to be - although he believes the bookies should have them, and not Leeds, as promotion favourites.
“It shows that the club shouldn't be in this division and everyone knows they should be higher and it's up to the players and the management to get that sorted and get back up there as soon as possible,” he said. “When you look at who the manager has already got here from last year and you look at the players he's brought in I'm quite surprised we haven't been pushed up to favourites to be honest in the last couple of weeks.
“But you have just got to forget about that, you've got to go out and play the games and try and do what we know we can do and achieve what we are setting out to do.”