Holt relishing Championship challenge
Paddy Davitt SLIDESHOW: Norwich City's talisman Grant Holt is already relishing the chance to prove himself on the Championship stage. Holt plundered 30 goals in City's League One title success after claiming the golden boot at League Two level the previous season during Shrewsbury's run to the play-off final.
Norwich City's talisman Grant Holt is already relishing the chance to prove himself on the Championship stage.
Holt plundered 30 goals in City's League One title success after claiming the golden boot at League Two level the previous season during Shrewsbury's run to the play-off final.
Now the Canaries' skipper aims to prove he can cut it in the Championship in a career so far restricted to just four appearances in English football's second tier for Blackpool back in 2008.
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“You always want to test yourself at the best level and I can't wait for a chance under a manager who is fantastic and likes the way I play,” said Holt.
“He believes in my style to go and play in the Championship and give it the best I can.
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“I've got no doubts the manager will bring four or five in, which we need, to keep us fighting at that level but first and foremost it's consolidation.
“Of course when you go into any league you aim to win it, but let's be steady then push on. I'm sure if we perform anywhere near the same level as this season we'll be alright.
“You look at a team like Blackpool and what they have achieved. They are well disciplined, well organised and they don't really have any flash players - they have players who can do bits and bobs, like we have. It's an awkward league.
“If you win your home games and nick something on the road then you'll be fine.”
Holt led City's title-winning celebrations at Norwich Castle last night in a fitting finale to a week-long championship party since lifting the silverware against his hometown club Carlisle.
“No, I never get tired of raising that trophy because you might never do it again,” said the 29-year-old.
“The manager said to me six or seven weeks ago, 'you're the captain, go on and lift that trophy. It might never happen again,' and never a truer word was spoken.
“I may never be fortunate enough to do this again so I am happy to lift it as many times as I can before they take it away from us. I might even take it home this week if they let me do it.”
Holt insisted the scale of City's title achievement after a calamitous opening day defeat to Lambert's former club Colchester should never be forgotten.
“It is something special to win it by nine points when you consider where we started off and how far behind we were,” he said. “Just look at the way we played and the way we performed and then look at how far we came and its fantastic. Great credit has to go to the management and the staff and the players and to do it in the manner we did and the way we played, because we had to grind out results at times and show people how good we were, is superb.
“Of course, we're under no illusions about what awaits us. There are plenty of good teams in that league and it will be hard but, make no mistake, we are a good side. We have the resilience to keep clean sheets, we have the ability to score goals and that will help us a lot.”
Holt sat out the club's remaining league games to undergo ankle surgery but admitted Lambert's squad were thankful to avoid the nerve-shredding final day race for the second automatic promotion spot.
“When you see the likes of Leeds and other clubs battling it out it was a relief to get it done,” he said. “We knew when we got to that spell after beating Leeds at home that we were there and we wanted to sew it up. For me, particularly, I wanted it done so I could get my operation out of the way and it did seem to drag.
“We had a few hard games and maybe we got a little twitchy which is inevitable - that is just natural because any person is going to get nervous in that situation and panic a touch. The lads were fantastic at Charlton that day and that is what we have done all year. When our backs were against the wall we came out fighting. We nicked a 1-0 or on other occasions on the road we might be 1-0 down and we came back to win 2-1. That is what you have to do to win football leagues.”