Grant Holt backs Neil Adams to lead Norwich City’s Championship fightback

Grant Holt celebrates his match-winning brace at Coventry with Russell Martin. The two come face-to-

Grant Holt celebrates his match-winning brace at Coventry with Russell Martin. The two come face-to-face at Carrow Road on Saturday. Pic by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images - Credit: Focus Images

For a glorious period Norwich City and Grant Holt proved a perfect match.

From the adversity and embarrassment of an infamous debut day 7-1 humiliation against Colchester came the most remarkable ascent from the depths of League One.

Holt was a visible symbol of a defiant seam inside and outside the club to rise again, but the man who became a legendary figure in Norwich's modern-day story is forever indebted to the footballing outpost many miles from his Cumbrian roots that offered him a career-defining chance.

'With everything we achieved as a group and on a personal level and the friends I met along the way, the people at the football club, many of whom have left now, it was the best spell of my career,' he says.

'Not just on the football side but in terms of the family. We settled down there for a couple of years, they were a great bunch of lads, and it was a happy time together, but as tends to happen in life good things come to an end and it was just right for me to go at the point I did.'

Holt played no part in the decline that consigned the Canaries to the Football League last summer, but the triple player-of-the-year's verdict carries plenty of weight on how they embrace the huge challenges ahead.

'People sometimes don't realise when you first go down there is a little bit of a hangover, even if you try and make sure that isn't the case,' he says. 'I saw it with Wigan when I went there. It is different kettle of fish. It is a tough, tough league. We were very fortunate when we went up from League One, we had a very good side but no-one ever spoke about us until probably January, February time when people started to talk a little bit more. Before then they weren't even bothered and that is the difference.

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'We got on a roll, we had a good side and we ended up getting promoted. The difference this year is everyone knows who they are, what players they have got and every team is going to try and sit in and make things hard and defend. That is the nature of the league.'

Reading successfully adopted such a containment policy last time out at Carrow Road, which triggered an outpouring of frustration at the final whistle, but the man who attained cult status on the terraces is appealing to those who once worshipped him to back Neil Adams.

'The fans need to relax a little bit. They are only a few points from the play-offs, three wins and they are in the top two,' says Holt. 'What the fans need to remember, and I know they are getting a little bit frustrated with Neil, is they just have to bide their time.

'I know Neil and Gary Holt well, I played with Gary (at Nottingham Forest) and I got on great with Neil and I was the one beating the drum for him to get the job. I firmly believe he will do a good job. He just needs to be given the time.

'Make no bones about it, the club is back in a transition phase now. We have had the Premier League adventure, we have had all the hype that goes with that but now they are back in the Championship trying to re-build it. There are teams there who have spent a lot of money and never done it. You can look at it all the way through this division now, Wigan themselves still have plenty of Premier League quality, but it is so difficult. That is why when teams get stuck in it they can find themselves at that level for a while. Give it time and they will be thereabouts, regardless of what anybody says. If not automatic (promotion), they will definitely be in the play-offs.'