Holt’s red-card justice could be just what was needed - Iwan
Iwan Roberts believes Norwich City's victory in the corridors of power at the FA this week will give them a major boost ahead of the big clash against Leeds this weekend.
Football's governing body gave Holt the green light to continue to lead from the front after over-turning the red card he received at Reading last weekend – had the appeal failed, Holt would have been banned for three games.
Roberts is a big admirer of Holt – whose no nonsense style and talismanic qualities in the yellow and green are reminiscent of the big Welshman in his Carrow Road heyday. And he believes Holt's availability will give his team-mates an extra spring in their step when they run out against Leeds this weekend.
'Without a doubt,' said Roberts. 'He is a massive player for the club. It's his strength up front, the work that he puts in. His hold-up play is second to none and he will put himself about. The two centre-halves will know they have been in a game.
'I don't think City have really got anybody of the same style – Chrissy Martin is a different type of player, more of a goal scorer if you like, so I don't think they have got anybody to fill his boots. He might not be having the best of seasons in front of goal, but every goal that I have seen he is involved in. He is a maker of goals as well. It's a boost for everybody that he won't be suspended.'
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Referee Michael Oliver's red card, for a challenge on defender Ian Harte just before half-time infuriated City boss Paul Lambert, who saw City's ten men relinquish a 3-1 lead to draw 3-3 – and Roberts agreed the official had got it wrong.
'It wasn't even a yellow card,' said Roberts. 'He has tried to stop, to be fair to him. His momentum has obviously taken him into him. I don't think the player has helped at all the way he went down. If the ref is 20, 25 yards away, even then you think, 'surely he can see there is no contact', but he's only five yards away with a great view of it.
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'Yes, it's great it has been rescinded, because I think he is massively important to the way Norwich play. I think they were desperately unlucky not to come away with three points. But it was a shocking decision and it has cost the club two points and those two points make a big difference.'
City entertain a Leeds side who followed them out of League One last season, along with play-off winners Millwall – and Roberts believes Lambert's summer transfer dealings will prove City are the best of the lot at the end of the season.
'It will probably be because of what Paul Lambert did that Simon Grayson and Kenny (Jackett) at Millwall didn't do,' he said. 'I don't think they strengthened as well as Paul did. I think the players he brought in really did strengthen the squad and I think that's the difference between the three clubs who came up. I think Norwich have much better strength in depth.'
Leeds have seemingly recovered from a 4-0 home thrashing by Cardiff and are unbeaten in their last four games.
'I saw them against Cardiff,' said Roberts, a pundit for BBC Wales. 'They were shocking – although for 20, 25 minutes they probably matched Cardiff, and then one poor goal straight from the keeper's kick, a mistake between the centre-half and the keeper, Jay Bothroyd gets in and it's 1-0 and you could see heads drop straight away. But I think they are probably a different side at home than they are away from home. I think the players there feel the pressure that the supporters put on them, being probably the biggest club in the Championship.
'It won't be easy because they are in good form, but down here City are capable of beating anybody.'