Norwich boss Paul Lambert sang the praises of City’s new strikeforce, as skipper Grant Holt emerged as a real doubt for that Championship opener a week on Friday.
With Holt’s thigh problem continuing to keep him out of the side, Chris Martin and Simeon Jackson started up top in the 2-1 win over Newcastle United on Saturday.
And Martin, in particular, made full use of his opportunity, netting twice as City recorded their first notable success of pre-season.
New signing Jackson also impressed against the Toon and the pair certainly staked their claim for a start against Watford at Carrow Road on August 6 – especially after Lambert revealed the latest news on his captain.
“Grant’s a little bit away at the minute – we’ll just have to wait and see. I’m not sure whether he’ll make the game and it’s probably a 50-50 call,” said the City chief, speaking to the media after the encouraging victory.
“But I thought Martin and Jackson were excellent. Jackson has come in late in Germany and he is probably playing a bit of catch up, but I thought him and Chrissy were excellent.
“And no matter what you say about Chrissy, he knows how to finish with a football, that’s for sure.”
Unfortunately for the Canaries, it isn’t just Holt that is absent, will several others missing from Saturday’s line-up.
But Lambert now has plenty of options at his disposal after seven summer additions, and he was happy to report that the new lads, with a little help from the current crop, are settling in very nicely.
“There are a few lads who were missing – the two Smiths are out, Hughes has been out, Whitbread is out, Jens’ [Berthel Askou] baby has just been born, Grant’s out, so we have a few still to come back.
“But you have to give the current group that were here credit – they have taken to them and they have made them feel part of the football club, which is important.
“And I think playing here against Newcastle gave them an expectation of what to expect when it starts for real.”
Another player to shine at the weekend was Wes Hoolahan, and the talented Irishman caused the Toon no end of problems with his trickery and movement.
And even though it was Martin’s name on the scoresheet for the first-half effort, all the hard work came from the Dubliner, who weaved his way through the United defence before laying it on a plate for his team-mate.
Along with the majority of the 13,195 crowd, Lambert was mightily impressed with the 28-year-old’s part in that opening goal.
“It was phenomenal,” continued the Scot. “When he’s on form he’s unplayable at times as I said last year, with the way he plays the game. I have no doubt Wes will step up to the plate. He’s a terrific footballer and his ability is always there.
“Teams might want to man-mark him but when you are that type of player you have got to expect to be followed. But he’s certainly got the ability to beat people.”
If there was to be one negative point to take from Saturday’s encounter, it was the way in which the visitors were allowed to level, with Elliott Ward allowing Shola Ameobi too much space in the City box.
But these things happen in pre-season friendlies according to the Canary chief, and the ‘culprit’ – if you want to call him that – was only playing his second game since joining the club this summer.
“Elliott only played 45 minutes on Thursday [at Dagenham and Redbridge] and he hasn’t really trained much at all. But he got an hour here and you can see his quality on the ball. Elliott will be a big asset to us and he’ll be fine.”
Leave a Reply