Holt still in Lambert's plans despite court hearing

Chris Lakey Paul Lambert insists Grant Holt remains in his plans for tonight - despite his skipper's appearance in court in Shropshire. Holt has been charged with motoring offences and will appear before magistrates in Market Drayton - more than 200 miles away.

Chris Lakey

Paul Lambert insists Grant Holt remains in his plans for tonight - despite his skipper's appearance in court in Shropshire.

Holt has been charged with motoring offences and will appear before magistrates in Market Drayton - more than 200 miles away.

His inclusion for the Championship opener depends on the timing of the case, but the City boss says last season's leading scorer remains in his plans, despite the obvious logistical problems.


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“I am not planning to be without him, no,” said Lambert, who only granted media interviews with players yesterday on the proviso that the Holt situation was not mentioned.

“I will decide between now and tomorrow - I have a rough idea what I am going to do. I know what team I am going to go with.”

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Holt has played just 18 minutes since the pre-season opener at Dereham a month ago having suffered a thigh injury, so his match fitness is in question anyway.

If Holt doesn't make it back in time, then Chris Martin and new signing Simeon Jackson will start up front, with Oli Johnson the only recognised striker on the bench.

It's the first major test of City's readiness for the step up to another level after last season's League One success - and Lambert wasn't in the mood to be lured into making any rash predictions.

“I think time will tell, but you can't predict the future,” he said. “We just have to go game by game. I know it is going to be really tough. I'm under no illusions how hard it's going to be, but we have earned the right to play them and we will do everything we can to try and have the same feeling as we did last year.

“Tomorrow is new for us, Watford are established in the league for a few years. We will go and try and make it as hard as we can and do as well as we can in the league.”

There's a reunion of sorts: Lambert's first year as a Celtic player coincided with the last year of Watford manager and ex-City defender Malky Mackay.

“He's done great at Watford,” said Lambert. “I have had good conversations with him on the telephone. He's done great under difficult circumstances and it will be good to see him tomorrow.”

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