Norwich skipper Grant Holt is “doing really fine” as he battles to be fit in time for next week’s Championship opener against Watford at Carrow Road.
Last season’s 30-goal striker was again missing with a thigh complaint last night as the Canaries drew 0-0 at Chris Sutton’s Lincoln. But City chief Paul Lambert hinted that Holt was on his way back, even though injury concerns remain over others.
“Grant’s doing really fine,” said the Canary boss, speaking to the club’s official website after the Sincil Bank stalemate yesterday evening.
“He’s not match-fit but he’s getting there and we’ll see how he does in the next week or so. Korey [Smith] will hopefully be back before not too long. The longest one will be Steven Smith I think and Zak’s [Whitbread] doing ok.”
Lambert made more changes against Sutton’s side last night after an encouraging success over Newcastle at the weekend, with Elliott Ward and Simeon Jackson the only two who survived from the Toon win.
But the Scot was relatively pleased with the latest workout, even though there will be some slight concern at the fact that City failed to find the net for the third time in four pre-season matches.
“The lads were great, they had a hard game against Newcastle on Saturday and they have another hard game against Everton this weekend.
“They’re getting there and as I said, Newcastle was a terrific game for us. Lincoln was a different test with lots of changes but that’s pre-season.
“I thought there were some good things there. There were some changes from Saturday, Stephen Hughes was back after a lay-off and there were some youngsters as well so I was reasonably happy with what we did.”
It was an evening of experimentation for Lambert in terms of formations, with the Scot opting for a 3-4-3 before changing it twice during the 90 minutes.
And the message was clear – now is the time for tinkering, with that Championship return still nine days away.
“It was just too crowded in the middle I thought, so I just tried to stretch the game and if you’re going to try things, now is the time to try them.”
Former Norwich hero Sutton was also a happy man afterwards and he too played around with his line-up, as the Imps look to mount a League Two promotion push in 2010/11.
“We got outplayed in the middle of the park against Celtic and I thought the boys who came in against Norwich did well,” City’s UEFA Cup legend told the Lincolnshire Echo.
“When you play against sides that are possession-orientated in the middle you can get out-gunned. It is something we may look at [during the season].
“But Drewe Broughton worked tirelessly as the lone striker and it was a good work out for every player.”
City: Steer; Askou, Tudur Jones, Ward (R. Martin 60); Francomb, Gill (Surman 71), Hughes (Crofts 71), Dawkin; McNamee (Fox 75), Johnson (Hoolahan 75), Jackson (C. Martin 60). Subs not used: Ruddy, Nelson.