Hoolahan hoping City can prolong play-off push

Norwich City's will-o'-the-wisp Wes Hoolahan promised good times ahead after firing City into League One's top six at Carlisle. Hoolahan struck on 41 minutes at Brunton Park for his third goal in five league games as the Canaries made it three league wins in a row for the first time in 20 months.

Norwich City's will-o'-the-wisp Wes Hoolahan promised good times ahead after firing City into League One's top six at Carlisle.

Hoolahan struck on 41 minutes at Brunton Park for his third goal in five league games as the Canaries made it three league wins in a row for the first time in 20 months.

Hoolahan celebrated his fifth of the campaign with a unique shin pad salute after club officials were despatched on a match day mercy mission having headed north minus the essential piece of kit.

According to national reports, two of City's travelling party were forced to dash into Carlisle city centre less than an hour before kick off to buy up 20 pairs at a sports shop - arriving back at Brunton Park with only minutes to spare.


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Hoolahan insists Paul Lambert's squad can have a major say in the promotion race after moving into the play-off spots for the first time this season.

"I believe we can go far, we've got a great squad - good lads," he said,

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"There is a great bunch of quality players so I hope we can keep on pushing up the table.

"I think all the lads have been doing really well. We've hit good form at the right time and now it's a case of pushing on and hoping we can stay in the play-offs.

"It's a tough place to come and it was a long trip. It took us nine hours to get here and it's a great win."

Hoolahan will score more difficult goals but was in the right place at the right time to give City that crucial interval lead.

He said: "Chrissy Martin crossed it and I think it's gone under one or two of the Carlisle lads' legs. It just came to me and I slotted it in nicely.

"They came at us and it's expected when you come to Carlisle but the back four played well and the 'keeper made some saves and we defended brilliantly."

Lambert paid tribute to Hoolahan along with his other walking wounded after a clutch of call offs for the midweek Johnstone's Paint Trophy win at Gillingham.

He said: "Wes had a knock on his foot. That's why he missed the game the other night - as did a lot of them.

"And to come back in, they've not done much training and they had a long bus journey yesterday so it's a terrific three points.

"They were as fit as they could be. I don't think you are ever going to play the game 100 per cent fit, but I couldn't play them against Gillingham and today we took certain risks with some of them but they came through it fine."

Full-back Adam Drury, who arrived at the ground just 75 minutes before kick-off after being flown to Carlisle following the birth of his daughter, also praised Hoolahan's contribution to City's revival.

He said: "Wes has been in fantastic form and I think it makes a big difference when we can get him higher up the pitch so he can do his damage in their half.

"If he does get caught on the ball, it's not going to affect us too much and that's what we've done over the last few games - his form has been fantastic as the whole team has."

Hoolahan will aim to continue his rich vein of form when he faces old Blackpool boss Simon Grayson in City's trip to Leeds on Monday night.

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