Holt happy to start all over again
Paddy Davitt Norwich City's new assistant academy manager Gary Holt believes his old club is the perfect place to launch a second footballing career. Holt is poised to take his place in the dug out alongside Ricky Martin again for tonight's latest City XI pre-season friendly against Ridgeons Premier club Norwich United at Plantation Park (7.
Norwich City's new assistant academy manager Gary Holt believes his old club is the perfect place to launch a second footballing career.
Holt is poised to take his place in the dug out alongside Ricky Martin again for tonight's latest City XI pre-season friendly against Ridgeons Premier club Norwich United at Plantation Park (7.45pm).
The former Canaries' midfielder made his first official appearance since joining the club's coaching team in the midweek 2-0 defeat at United Counties League neighbours King's Lynn Town.
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City are expected to field the same squad of largely academy scholars alongside fringe first team players Jens Berthel Askou, Matty Gill and Owain Tudur Jones who all played 45 minutes at The Walks. Holt is relishing the chance to work alongside respected academy boss Martin and former team mate Paul Lambert in the new look coaching set up.
“It's definitely nice to be back,” he said. “I've been doing my coaching badges during the last year or so and making some great progress on my 'A' licence and now I've got the chance to work at Norwich alongside Ricky and the management team and hopefully it will go well.
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“It's well known I worked with the manager before. I played with him and against him and I'm just pleased I have got a job - that is the first thing. I am willing to learn everything on the academy side and I just want to be a sponge and take in as much as I possibly can and be as big a help as I can to the young players and back Ricky up as much as possible.”
Holt got a first hand look at City's next generation against an experienced Lynn Town.
“We knew they wouldn't be a mug side who were coming along to make up the numbers,” he said. “But I was pleased with our boys. If you look at the side we had out, there was five 16-year-olds started the game, five started the second half and we finished with a 14-year-old who had school in the morning so this was the first game playing against proper men.
“We had a few chances and of course it's always nice to get a win but we came through with no injuries and they were quite hurt afterwards sat in the changing room. They care. It's not a case that it's pre-season and it doesn't matter and that is nice to see.”
Holt admitted he is still coming to terms with calling time on his own playing days after a successful recent spell at non league Lowestoft.
“I played a pre-season game on Saturday but Lowestoft know my situation. I won't be available as often as I was last year,” he said. “It's hard to stop when it's not through injury but through work commitments. I've been looking for this type of opportunity to come along for the last four or five months. I had managed to do the first part of my 'A' licence, which certainly opens some more doors for you.
“In football the legs don't keep going forever so you have to look at what the next step is and I enjoy coaching and I hope to be able to pass on anything I can. It was Ian Culverhouse I spoke to and that kind of set the ball rolling and through that came the offer to work at Norwich and I am over the moon. It's something that I want to get my teeth into and learn from Ricky but I know I have a long way to go.”
Holt has also had a brief chance to work with the club's first team squad prior to their German training camp. The Scot won a Championship title during his previous stint at Carrow Road and is confident Lambert's current crop are well equipped to handle the second tier.
“It's not an easy league and it's probably harder than when I played in it but they are a good bunch and the management have signed a good calibre of players to add to that,” said Holt. “You need that luck, you need to stay relatively injury free to have a settled side and you need the players not to get down on themselves if things don't go there way.
“At times it won't go right but it's how you bounce back and how you react. They bounced back last year and I'm sure it will continue this season and they will do very well. Every team who has been promoted, by and large, does really well the following season - especially the ones with that winning mentality. Whether it ends up in play-offs or winning it, who knows? It's always good to know that we won the league last year so we must be a decent side. That is certainly the right mentality to make things easier, rather than perhaps having scrapped away in a relegation battle and survived in the last game or two of the season.”
The Planters will be fielding new signings Andy Key and Lewis Blois, who have both joined from Kirkley & Pakefield, as as well as Gareth Simpson, who has joined from Wroxham after being a non playing substitute at Wembley in the FA Vase final against Whitley Bay.
Returning for the Planters are Nathan Page after a year's scholarship in the USA and former Canary Cedric Anselin after a spell with Dereham Town.
Planters manager Paul Chick said: “We are looking forward to what will be a big test, we had a good run out against in our 2-1 win against Fakenham, and it will be another game closer to gaining the necessary match fitness.”
Entrance is on the gate and prices are �6 for adults, �3 for children and senior citizens.
t Norwich United (from): Ben Nower, Steve Shipley, Tom Jeal, Darren Coe, James Wilson, Warren Preston, Danny Tacon, Lewis Blois, Ben Furlong, Jake McCabe, Gareth Simpson, Justin Fox, Cedric Anselin, Andy Key, Nathan Page, Paul Atkins, Jordan Blyth, Lee Hunter, Andrew Claydon.
t Norwich City XI (from): Remi Matthews, Jens Berthel Askou, George Francomb, Sam Habergham, Rhoys Wiggins, Richard Brindley, Remy Gordon, Alex Stephens, Matthew Gill, Owain Tudur Jones, Matthew Ball, Ryan Oakley, Luke Daley, Josh Dawkin, Cody Mcdonald, Patrick Drmola.