Holt sets comeback target
David Cuffley Player of the season Grant Holt has ringed a very important date on the calendar as he looks forward to leading out Norwich City in the Championship. The Canaries' skipper and top scorer, recovering from an operation on his right ankle, wants to be running and kicking a ball again by July 1, in just over seven weeks' time.
Player of the season Grant Holt has ringed a very important date on the calendar as he looks forward to leading out Norwich City in the Championship.
The Canaries' skipper and top scorer, recovering from an operation on his right ankle, wants to be running and kicking a ball again by July 1, in just over seven weeks' time.
Holt missed the final two matches of the season after surgery, but had the considerable consolation of picking up two big pieces of silverware at the final home game against home town club Carlisle United. He collected the Barry Butler Memorial Trophy before kick-off after fans voted him player of the season.
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Then Holt received the Coca-Cola League One trophy on behalf of his title-winning side after they had slumped to a 2-0 defeat.
The striker revealed that several different dates had been earmarked as options for his operation, depending on whether City had clinched promotion.
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He said: “We had three dates pencilled in which we knew about - one we would have liked a little bit sooner, but we didn't win the games. But we finally did it two weeks earlier than we might have done, which gave us two more weeks' recovery.
“It gives me the chance to be back for July 1, get ready for pre-season and I hope if everything goes right, I'll be good.
“We'll pencil in the first week of July to have a run, to have a kick of a ball and just see how we get on from there.”
The 29-year-old admitted he had struggled at times this term because of the long-running injury. He said: “The medical team have had to keep an eye on it. It's been tough. I've had to have days off and it's been a little bit niggly, but any footballer, when it comes to a game, you always forget about it.
“They've been great, the way they've managed it.
“It's a pity about the sending-off and the yellow cards but in one way or another it was a bit of a blessing to have two weeks off just to give it a rest.
“It feels great now - we've checked it over and it feels good.”
Saturday's defeat, with City 2-0 down inside seven minutes, took the gloss off the occasion but Holt argued: “It's been a great day. We've been waiting a long time for it. It's been a little bit of an anti-climax but we've been waiting for it, we just wanted to get our hands on it, get it lifted, get it done, get away and get ready for next year.
“We wanted to entertain but Carlisle came with nothing to play for. The pressure was off, they were busy, were lively and we were caught cold with two early goals. In the second half we probably edged it, but it's tough.
“I think the way we've played has been fantastic to watch. If you look at the last 10 games you wouldn't say that but it's all about grinding out results. It's a big credit to this football club, I'm sure all the fans here today will have enjoyed the season that's just gone past.”
Holt believes City will do well in the Championship, but warned supporters not to expect miracles next season.
He said: “The manager is going to do what he needs to do in the transfer window, bring the players in to help the squad along. I'm sure if we play the way we can next season we'll do fine.
“Next year is all about consolidating, and I don't think people should get too set about we're going to go and win the league. It's all about consolidating, getting this club back in a financial situation where it should be, getting it set and ready to push on again.”
The visit of Premier League sides Newcastle and Everton for pre-season friendlies is further incentive for Holt to make a speedy recovery.
He said: “They are good games to be involved in. They will be good tests. Newcastle went up from the Championship and we'll see what they're all about and we'll look at them and see how they did it.”