I’m one of rare breed, says Holt
He may often be likened to an ‘old fashioned’ striker from a bygone era, but Grant Holt believes the bustling role for a big bad number nine is back in fashion.
Norwich City’s skipper has received plenty of plaudits for his recent performances – including his commanding first half display at Reading before referee Michael Oliver stepped in, and most notably his wonderful hat-trick against Ipswich Town almost 10 days ago.
The 29-year-old’s efforts have also seen him nominated alongside Bristol City’s Steven Caulker, Doncaster striker James Hayter and the talisman at Championship leaders Queens Park Rangers, Adel Taarabt for November’s Championship player of the month award – which will be decided today.
And Holt believes the recognition he is receiving is helped by the fact his style is something of a rare breed in modern football – but one most managers would still find desirable to have on board.
“I think people are looking for it but there’s not many (of us) around, so I think that’s why when one is doing so well I think people actually cling on to it and you get noticed a lot more than the regular forwards, who are just quick or whatever,” said Holt. “So I think that’s why I’m getting more noticed – because we’re all doing well.”
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That theme continued at the weekend, when City’s exuberant start was enough to secure an excellent 2-1 win at promotion-chasing Derby County – enough for Norwich to take the Rams’ fourth place in the Championship table.
As for Holt, after missing almost the entire pre-season schedule through a thigh injury last season’s top scorer has begun to find his rhythm.
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And given the amount of ground Holt has to cover each game – a fact that often goes unnoticed – it is no wonder his summer absence has taken some time to get over.
“We’ve got Prozone and things like that, and I think I’ve done like 10km a game, so you’ve got to work hard,” Holt added. “It’s not just about standing there and waiting for the ball to come in and tapping in the net. It’s an athletic sport now and you’ve got to work hard on all aspects of your game on the pitch.”
Holt will get a chance to take stock of season to date this weekend, as he serves a one match suspension when Portsmouth come to town; the striker picked up his fifth booking of the season against Derby.
Having lifted the League One trophy at Carrow Road last season, proving he could make the step up to the Championship a successful one was always going to be the challenge for Holt this season.
The striker only had four goalless appearances in the second tier to his name before this season – during a brief loan spell at Blackpool from Nottingham Forest at the end of the 2007-08 campaign.
But he already has seven goals in 20 appearances this term – and admitted he never had worries about making the the transition from the lower leagues.
“I think if I get the right service and you have the right players around you, you will score goals,” said Holt. “I’ve never really had a crack at the Championship and it was nice to get in, get settled, find my feet and see what I could do.
“And as the manager says, there’s only one person’s opinion you need to worry about, and that is his.”
Holt’s hat-trick over Ipswich will live long in the memory for Canaries’ fans – and the City captain admitted it is one of the high points of his career to date.
“Yeah, I think it’s well up there,” Holt told the Football League podcast. “Obviously to get three goals in any game is fantastic, but to get it in the derby makes it that much sweeter.
“It was absolutely manic all day really and the fans were very happy. We got the win and managed to get the bragging rights for the next couple of weeks until we play them again.”