Hoolahan is hoping to adapt
Chris Lakey Wes Hoolahan has left his mark on League One this season - and some of the defenders he's faced have reciprocated as they tried, and often failed, to stop the Irishman in his tracks.
Wes Hoolahan has left his mark on League One this season - and some of the defenders he's faced have reciprocated as they tried, and often failed, to stop the Irishman in his tracks.
Hoolahan's return from injury for the final game of the season reminded City fans what they've missed for half a dozen games - and wondering how he will cope back in the Championship.
The midfielder, back after a thigh injury, has found his niche under Paul Lambert, prodding and probing defences from the tip of the diamond, and chipping in with 14 goals and almost as many assists.
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Now he heads back to a league where he spent two seasons - one with Blackpool and then last year's forgettable campaign with City - knowing what to expect.
“You have to adapt and hopefully I can do it,” said Hoolahan.
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“I played there last year and I was with Blackpool and then Norwich and I am comfortable at that level and hopefully playing in the role I did this year - we'll wait and see.
“I think I will probably get a bit more space in the Championship - League One is very in your face, in the Championship you can get time on the ball.
“Obviously it is a lot more physical and if you make a mistake they will punish you - there are a lot of quality players in the league.
“It's a big challenge ahead of us, we know what we want to do in the league, a few of us have played in the Championship and we want to do well.
“My first year with Norwich wasn't great so hopefully this year will be the start of something nice.”
Much of City's success this season has been based on the consistency of selection: nine of the squad have more than 30 league appearances to their name and there is a clear preferred starting XI.
“When you get used to playing with players and players you were playing with last year - there weren't not many loan players here -- it's great,” he said.
“Week in, week out you get used to them.
“We can hit the ground running and have a good start - we have won a lot of games this year and hopefully we can continue it next year and if we get a good start next year, who knows?”
For now, it's time to savour the moment.
“It feels amazing, it was great at the end,” he said.
“The result today didn't help, but it didn't matter, we won the league.
“We didn't start great, but at the end seeing the fans there clapping us and that, it was great.
“Our start to the season wasn't great and to be nine points clear is a great achievement and the boys should enjoy themselves.
“We've been playing really well and there's togetherness in the team.
“We have some quality players here.
“We have a good squad - we have got a lot of good players who can come in and do a job.”
That includes Anthony McNamee, who made way for Hoolahan's return on Saturday. Hoolahan started - and managed to last the full 90 minutes, despite feeling the effects of his lay-off.
“I was knackered,” he laughed.
“I was getting a bit tired in the last 20 minutes - I was hoping he'd take me off, but he didn't.
“I'd been trying to get back to play some part in the last game, but I managed to play from the start so that was alright - although obviously the result wasn't great.”