VIDEO: Holt enjoying life at Norwich
Chris Lakey It wasn't too long ago that Norwich City fans were advised to wait for a new hero to come along.Dion Dublin had decided to hang up his boots, while Darren Huckerby was shown the exit door in a far from satisfactory manner.
It wasn't too long ago that Norwich City fans were advised to wait for a new hero to come along.
Dion Dublin had decided to hang up his boots, while Darren Huckerby was shown the exit door in a far from satisfactory manner. The heroes had departed, never to return.
But could the wait for a replacement be over?
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Is Grant Holt the man City fans have been waiting for? There's a bit of Dublin about him, a bit of Iwan Roberts as well - and he has the glint in his eye that is pure Huckerby.
Holt's contribution to the cause cannot be underestimated: 14 goals in 18 league and cup starts have helped take City into fifth in League One - and he hasn't even started on the Johnstone's Paint Trophy yet.
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The 28-year-old has been made skipper by manager Paul Lambert, who inherited the Bryan Gunn signing when he took over in August, having come up well short of cash in the summer when he wanted to take him out of Shrewsbury and make him Colchester's target man.
Lambert jokes that even if Holt had a broken leg he'd pick him - "I just turn a blind eye when he tells me he is injured. You're fine, son," - and says he's a "proper player".
Nine goals in his last nine games prove his value, although the man himself isn't quite sure he has achieved cult status just yet. Business is business - and any plaudits won't be accepted until the job is done.
"That's for people to say, that's for people to write," said Holt. "It's not for me to comment on. If we don't get promoted this year that's my only concern, to get promoted. That's why I am here, that's why a lot of us are at this football club - to put it back to where it should be and if we achieve that, that's all I'm worried about."
Achieve that and cult status, hero worship - call it what you want - will be achieved. Holt admits he never thought life would be so good at this stage of the season.
"Obviously I knew we had got fantastic forwards here and the aim straight away was to play," he said. "I have done that now, I am enjoying playing well, the manager has given me the armband which puts a bit more added pressure on, but obviously looking back, if someone had asked me the first day I came if I'd have this many goals and played this many games doing this, then I'd take it straight away."
Holt's return against Tranmere this afternoon follows a one-match suspension after he collected his fifth booking in the FA Cup tie at Paulton a week ago. While it was fortuitous that he missed Tuesday's Johnstone's Paint Trophy win at Swindon, it did give him a chance to rest an ankle knock.
"I had a little injection last week in my ankle for the Paulton game and it seems to help a little bit," he said. "It's taken the pain off but it's something I knew about four or five weeks ago so it's not really something I'm bothered about. We're just getting on with it and we'll assess that during the summer."
Holt won the League Two Golden Boot last season with Shrewsbury, where his former boss Paul Simpson has been forced to defend the decision to allow him to leave.
"I don't think it was a case of he let me go," said Holt. "I'm sure if you speak to him it wasn't a case of him letting me go easily. I think it was more of a financial decision by the football club than the manager. I had a chat with him and I'm thankful and I expressed my feelings - it was an opportunity for the club that was too good to turn down and he totally agreed with that and I am very thankful to him for that."
Their loss is City's gain, with Holt the fulcrum of everything that is good about City - ably aided and abetted by his junior partner Chris Martin and midfield maestro Wes Hoolahan. The prospect of Holt reaching 20 goals this season is mouth-watering - the prospect of all three reaching double figures is more rare than a promotion campaign.
"That's the aim - if any of us manage to hit the magical 25 or whatever it is very rare - you would be up there," Holt said.
"I think last year at Shrewsbury I got 20 league goals and the next one behind me got about three. We got into the play-offs with that, although obviously it is a different league, but if you look at myself getting 20-odd, Chrissy Martin 20-odd and Wes then you would be there or thereabouts.
"I never really set a target. As I said from the start, as long as we get promoted that's my target, that's what I came here to do and at the moment we are on course.
"There's something like 30 goals between the three of us. It's good because it gives us a little bit of competition and I'm looking over my shoulder trying to keep Chrissy at bay.
"I'm just happy at the moment."
He's not the only one.