Holt back for Norwich City’s big test
Grant Holt returns to the Canaries line-up this weekend facing one of the biggest challenges of the season.
The City skipper is expected to resume duties following a one-game suspension when the Canaries travel to Coventry City's Ricoh Arena.
And the challenge is to prevent the Sky Blues from reaching a club record run of clean sheets – while preserving City's own record of not having lost two games in a row in a single season under Paul Lambert.
Coventry, under former Academy coach Aidy Boothroyd, have not conceded a goal in their last four games, dating back to a 2-0 defeat at Crystal Palace on November 13.
It's been 396 minutes since goalkeeper Kieran Westwood has had to pick the ball out of his own net. If he keeps Holt and Co at bay on Saturday it will match the five under Roland Nilsson in October 2001.
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The target is the club's all-time record of six in a row – a record that dates back 75 years to the mid-30s.
Defender James McPake has played in the last four games in front of Westwood and is determined to make it a famous five on Saturday.
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'Keeping clean sheets is great,' said the central defender. 'We said before Saturday's game at Reading that we have had three clean sheets but we wanted to make it four.
'It is in our minds now as defenders and we want to see how far we can go and how many we can get.
'That's our job and there is nothing better for a defender. We are getting in the habit of keeping them now and it's a good habit to have.'
It's fifth at home to sixth on Saturday, and while the Sky Blues won't fall out of the play-off spots if they are beaten, Westwood is determined to keep it that way over the Christmas period.
'Christmas can be a vital time and we want to stick in there and we can only do that by winning and hopefully we can keep grinding these wins out, and fingers crossed it goes well for us,' he said. 'Being in the top six and staying in there is the aim of everyone in the Championship, so I think it is a case of quietly going about our business and keep doing what we are doing, and if we are in there come the end of the season then great.
'But nothing is won now so we have got to keep at it and continue doing what we are doing.'
Coventry are something of a surprise package, given that one bookmaker was quoting odds of 100-1 for them to win the title outright back in August.
But Westwood believes they can finally deliver.
'We have promised so much and delivered so little in the past, but fingers crossed things will be different this year,' said the 25-year-old.
'We are all hoping and we think we have got a great chance. We are a strong unit now and very hard to break down and maybe we would have lost our last couple of games this time last year.
'We don't give teams many chances and when we do I have managed to keep them out recently.'