Hoolahan - We must adapt to overcome

Star forward Wes Hoolahan believes Norwich City are right to vary their approach against different opposition as they bid to stay in the Championship promotion race.

Last season’s League One title success was achieved very largely by a team playing in diamond formation with Hoolahan at the tip, working his magic behind strikers Grant Holt and Chris Martin.

But the Irishman has been moved around as manager Paul Lambert has changed formations between the diamond, 4-4-2 and 4-3-3. He has also spent his share of time on the bench, starting only three of the last nine league games.

It has not stopped him playing a major part in helping the Canaries into third place, however, scoring eight goals ahead of today’s home game against second-placed Cardiff City – most notably when he came off the bench to score a hat-trick in the 4-2 home win over Sheffield United.

“It hasn’t affected me at all. You play in different positions. That’s how it goes,” he said. “You play against better players, better opposition and you have to try to kind of bluff them. You can’t keep playing the same formation because they get used to you.”

The 28-year-old Hoolahan said he had no hesitation in signing a new contract with City, taking him through to 2014.

“I’m over the moon to sign here for another three and a half years. I’ve been here three years and the last two years have been great and I hope that can continue,” he said.

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“We have a great manager here, a great bunch of lads, and we’re trying to do something here. There’s a long way to go but I hope we can keep doing what we’ve been doing the past few months.”

Hoolahan admitted City had been off-colour in their FA Cup exit at the hands of Leyton Orient, but stressed that today’s clash with the Bluebirds carried greater importance.

“We didn’t play too good. Leyton Orient got the goal in the first 25 minutes and sat back and we found it hard to break them down,” he said.

“But this is your bread and butter – it’s more important to get out of this league and get into the Premier League.

“We’re level on points with each other and this is what it’s all about, playing these big games.”

Hoolahan scored with a diving header in the 3-1 defeat at Cardiff in October, but at a price: “I got a bit of a bloody nose but it’s better now.”