Wes Hoolahan comes back in from the cold at Norwich City

Norwich City midfielder Wes Hoolahan will be a key man for Neil Adams. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Fo

Norwich City midfielder Wes Hoolahan will be a key man for Neil Adams. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd. - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Neil Adams insists Wes Hoolahan can ignite Norwich City's Championship promotion push.

Hoolahan's days at Carrow Road looked numbered last season after a messy transfer window pursuit involving Aston Villa and a transfer request rejected by the club's top brass.

The Republic of Ireland international was a peripheral figure over the second half of the campaign, but he has looked keen to impress in the opening pre-season skirmishes. Hoolahan was the stand out performer in Friday's 1-1 friendly against SC Bastia before his early exit after a spat with the Corsicans' Yannick Cahuzac.

'His application this summer has been excellent, even to the point of having to be taken off because he showed even in a game like that how much he wants to win. That is not a bad attitude to have,' said Adams. 'He is happy. I have spoken to him numerous times, as you do to a player you want to keep and I make no bones about that. I want to keep Wes Hoolahan because I know what he can do. He is playing in a position that suits him, just off and in behind the strikers, but he is versatile. He can play other roles. If you can get the ball to him then he is intelligent and clever enough to get through teams.'

Adams opted not to bring Hoolahan back in from the cold during his brief five-game stint at the end of last season but the City boss was quick to put that selection dilemma in the context of striving to keep the club up.

'Everybody knows what I think of him and probably there are one or two people who were scratching their heads,' he said. 'I came out and said what a good player and what a big fan of his I am and then I didn't play him in the games. Probably if we had four different opponents to what we did have last season then Wes was probably the first name on my team sheet. Wes knows what I think of him. He is a fabulous player and we have seen that in the early pre-season games. On his day he is unplayable.'