Holt has knack of scoring on debut
David Cuffley Striker Grant Holt will be out to demonstrate his happy knack of scoring debut goals when Norwich City kick off their League One campaign tomorrow. The 28-year-old Holt looks certain to start his new club's sell-out first match of the season against Colchester United at Carrow Road (3pm).
Striker Grant Holt will be out to demonstrate his happy knack of scoring debut goals when Norwich City kick off their League One campaign tomorrow.
The 28-year-old Holt looks certain to start his new club's sell-out first match of the season against Colchester United at Carrow Road (3pm).
And after finding the net on his first appearance for former clubs Barrow, Sheffield Wednesday, Nottingham Forest and Shrewsbury, the Canaries' summer capture will make manager Bryan Gunn's day if he repeats the feat in front of an expectant full house.
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“I'll be delighted if he does that,” said Gunn, who believes Holt is capable of scoring at least 20 goals this season. “Grant has been brought into the club to bring the goals back. Over the years, Norwich have usually had a main striker who would deliver 20 goals and we've not had that for a couple of seasons now. I feel that we've got someone who's capable of doing that.
“If that statistic carries on it will give us a good chance of getting something from the game and it would be the first step towards the number of goals we expect him to get during the season.”
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Holt said today: “I'm here to score goals but it's not all about me, it's about the team. If the team win and I'm performing well, as long as someone else goes and scores goals, I don't really mind.
“I hope I can keep it going. It seems to be that way and it's always nice to break your duck early on, and people don't talk about it. It gets longer and longer if you haven't scored. But if the team win tomorrow there will be no one happier than me.”
Gunn has made no fewer than 12 close season signings, six of whom appear likely to be in tomorrow's starting eleven, but he admitted that Holt was one of the prize recruits.
“We're building the squad up in different ways, but we were always conscious that we needed a goalscorer in. But alongside Grant, with Chris Martin, Jamie Cureton, Goran Maric and Cody McDonald, we have a very competitive striking department.
“The men in form will keep the jerseys and I'm sure the other three will be as keen to impress in training, in reserve matches or in Cup matches when given an opportunity.”
Gunn has already decided his line-up for tomorrow, City's first match outside the top two divisions since 1960.
He said: “We've been working away in the last few days and everyone's played in the positions they'll be taking on the field of play on Saturday.
“Everyone has put in excellent performances throughout the pre-season games and the team is picked on merit for all the performances so far. I think there are a couple who are very unlucky who are not in the starting line-up and that proves we have good competition for places.
“I hope the people in the starting line-up will realise that and that will keep them on their toes and keep their level of play at the standard we expect. That will keep them in the team.”
Key decisions will include who partners Gary Doherty in central defence, with vice-captain Michael Nelson, Danish signing Jens Berthel Askou and Michael Spillane all getting an opportunity during the pre-season programme - when City's senior side recorded six wins and a draw in seven matches - and who plays in central midfield, where new recruits Matthew Gill, Owain Tudur Jones and Stephen Hughes may be competing for two places.
City confirmed today that international clearance had come through for both Askou and Maric to play, if selected.
Gunn's senior players have steered clear of injury, but 19-year-old midfielder Damon Lathrope is out for several weeks with his right arm in plaster after breaking it in last week's friendly at Thetford.
Colchester have two absentees in striker Steven Gillespie (hamstring injury) and defender Paul Reid (knee).
Former City loan striker Kevin Lisbie, on a season-long loan from Ipswich, will start in attack alongside Clive Platt, who was linked with the Canaries during the summer.