Holt to flourish with right service - Gunn
PUBLISHED: 07:30 30 July 2009 | UPDATED: 11:09 06 July 2010
Bryan Gunn believes it could be a case of "feed the Holt and he will score" for the newest of his summer recruits. Bustling centre forward Grant Holt made his first start for the Canaries and set up fellow new recruit Simon Whaley for the only goal of the game at Crystal Palace on Tuesday night.
Bryan Gunn believes it could be a case of "feed the Holt and he will score" for the newest of his summer recruits.
Bustling centre forward Grant Holt made his first start for the Canaries and set up fellow new recruit Simon Whaley for the only goal of the game at Crystal Palace on Tuesday night.
But the man who finished last season as leading scorer in League Two proved to be more than just a physical handful, mixing brawn with brain - and City boss Gunn believes that if he gets the right service he could end up being a bargain at a reported £400,000.
"He showed lots of nice touches, lots of skill and obviously helped make the goal with a strong run into the corner and a very skilful nutmeg and cutback to Simon," said Gunn.
"That's the type of player we have got in Grant - we need to utilise that, need to make sure we get the ball into the right areas where we will get his contribution like that on more occasions. Certainly as a team player he worked his socks off. We felt he needed a rest and be given an opportunity to get his legs back for the weekend."
The Grant-Whaley contribution towards a deserved victory over Championship opposition suggested Gunn's full debut in the transfer market has been a successful one - but if it's League One results that are necessary as proof then Gunn can at least look at an unbeaten pre-season record.
"The way the lads have worked in pre-season is very encouraging," he said. "Obviously we have been given the opportunity to bring players into the club to fill spaces that we had from the end of last season and we are delighted with the standard of player we have brought in.
"Hopefully, the fans who were at Palace saw another side of Norwich City, one that will dig in next season and go away and win from home and that's going to be important if we are going to succeed in League One."
But the growing optimism comes with a warning from Gunn, who sends out a team against Wigan at Carrow Road on Saturday for a final warm-up before the real thing begins a week later at home to Colchester.
"It's encouraging," he said. "We have built up the pre-season fixtures in a way that it has always been a more difficult game as we've moved on and again this proved a very difficult game, but we hope come the end of the season we might be thinking about coming back to Crystal Palace to playing them again.
"It is something that looking over the course of the pre-season, results are important, the winning mentality is important, but the most important thing is the result on August 8 and thereafter.
"We don't want all the hard work we have done in pre-season to be undone in that first game."
Meanwhile goalkeeper Michael Theoklitos revealed he was determined to make up for lost time after kicking off his City career with a clean sheet.
The 28-year-old Australian had to wait three weeks for his first appearance for the Canaries while he recovered from a hip injury, but helped them maintain their unbeaten pre-season record at Palace.
The former Melbourne Victory 'keeper admitted it was a relief to finally get 90 minutes under his belt.
He said: "It was a clean sheet and we got the win. I haven't played for a while so it was good just to get out there with the boys and get my eye in in a game situation. I've been watching the boys for so long, I was just itching to get out there and really looked forward to it."
Theoklitos has been given added competition for the keeper's jersey by the arrival on loan of Tottenham's Ben Alnwick, who saved a penalty in Saturday's 1-1 draw against a Manchester United XI.
But he said: "Every position is going to have competition and I'm no different being a goalkeeper.
"Even if Ben wasn't here we've got two young lads who are very good, capable goalkeepers and it's good to keep everyone on their toes. I'm really looking forward to working with Ben and the younger boys. I can't wait for the season to start.
"I've done a fair bit of training with the guys. It's just getting into a game situation now. I have been very impressed with the past four or five games - we've had a very solid defence and I'm looking forward to working with the boys in front of me."