SAVVY_MONKEY on Saturday’s game at Old Trafford, and Grant Holt – who he thinks may currently only be Paul Lambert’s third-choice striker.
Not since greats such as Jurgen Klinsmann and Peter Beardsley graced the playing surface at Carrow Road has it felt this good to be a Norwich City supporter.
In the years leading up to that exciting Christmas period of the 94/95 season, many big players and big teams feared coming up against the yellow army, and many left with nothing. I can recall quite vividly the New Years Eve victory over league leaders Newcastle United, and remember thinking that it will surely always be like this as a City fan.
Sadly it wasn`t, and we only managed one more win in the Premier League that season (it was against Ipswich, mind), slowly slipping into the abyss. However, following the narrow defeat on Saturday to unarguably the most successful English team ever, it`s striking that this feel-good factor has well and truly returned.
Where once a 4-0 defeat away to a distinctly average Charlton side was the benchmark and unimaginative late substitutions was the norm, our talismanic manager is now disappointed not to deservedly take something from a trip to Old Trafford, and we are ninth in the table. Ninth!
So, everyone involved and employed at Carrow Road must surely be revelling in all this delightful optimism? Well I expect, all except maybe one man.
When Lambert made his final substitution on Saturday in the 85th minute, at the game 1-0 and with at least one chance yet to come, it was clearly time for a potential hero to enter the fray, a match winner. Simeon Jackson had already been introduced, so there was only one option in the armoury left, right?
The man christened, ‘The Horse` by Bryan Gunn would have been saddling up, tightening his shin guards and stretching his hamstrings, ready for the call. If he did, then he was wasting his time.
When Chris Martin`s name was called as Captain Wes Hoolahan`s late replacement, it would have been fascinating to see Holt`s reaction. Not that I expect it to be anything less than totally professional, but the big man must be getting inwardly frustrated at the very least.
Overlooked for three games now, Holt doesn`t look like a player who can miss many games and maintain his match fitness; it`s not looking that great is it. Lambert`s logic is obvious. Morison deserves his chance after impressing for Wales. He looks lively and seems to create himself (and others) chances.
Morison almost has as much presence as Holt but is eminently more mobile and seems better at moving the ball on at this level. Holt`s stopped doing what he used to do so well. Where he used to be aggressive, he`s now looking like the aggressed, trying too hard to win fouls rather than win flick-ons.
Holt now seems to be behind Morison and Martin for the main striker role, with Jackson the option when pace is needed in lieu of the grossly unfortunate James Vaughan.
Holt is undoubtedly the best finisher at the club. He has the biggest presence, and can really upset opposition defenders. He has a will to win like no other player I`ve ever seen at this football club. He will probably be given another chance or two yet to show he can make the step up, but it looks now as though this would be at the expense of the two, maybe three alternatives in front on him.
In Lambert we trust, but in Holt we hope where we used to expect.
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