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Barrow stint helped Holt on road to Premier League

PREMIER League striker Grant Holt believes his time in non-league football prepared him for his shot at the big time.

FROM BLUEBIRDS TO CANARIES: Grant Holt in action, above, for Barrow against Oldham Athletic in the FA Cup first round in 2001, and, below, making his Premier League debut in Norwich’s 1-1 draw against Wigan last weekend

The former Barrow frontman made his top-flight debut last Saturday, as he captained Norwich City in their 1-1 draw at Wigan Athletic.

Holt spent two full seasons at Holker Street between 2001 and 2003, scoring 52 goals in 114 appearances before being snapped up by Sheffield Wednesday.

He subsequently moved to Nottingham Forest and Shrewsbury, before joining the Canaries for £400,000 two years ago and helping fire them to two successive promotions.

The 30-year-old, who was Norwich’s player of the year last season, points to his time playing part-time football with Barrow and Workington Reds and working as a tyre-fitter in his native Carlisle as key in his development.

He said: “Having had a normal job, not earning much, puts you in good stead. I had years of fitting my football around my work shifts.

“There was a point when I thought about giving up trying to be a pro footballer but I stuck with it and eventually got a move to Sheffield Wednesday from Barrow.

“There’s a big list of lads who have played non-league here at Norwich. There’s myself, Andrew Crofts, Simeon Jackson, Stevie Morrison, Russell Martin and Bradley Johnson.

“It’s unusual to have so many lads who’ve played non-league in one group. But the manager Paul Lambert does not bring in a player who isn’t hungry enough. If someone told me two years ago after we lost 7-1 to Colchester we’d get back-to-back promotions and I’d score 53 goals with two player-of-the-year awards, I would not have believed them.”

Norwich, who host Stoke City tomorrow, fought back from a goal down to come away with a point from Wigan on the first day of the new Premier League season.

Wes Hoolahan scored the Canaries’ equaliser but Holt says he is determined to prove wrong those who doubt he will score as many goals in the Premier League this season.

He said: “People have already said that I won’t do it anyway, which people said last year and the year before, but of course you use it as motivation.

“We are under no illusion that it’s going to be tough to score goals and whatever return I get, then that’s fantastic. We believe that we are good enough to stay up. We know we are going to have to play to our potential week-in, week-out.”

Have your say

saw the boy score a hat trick at Hyde one cold evening.He was on fire could have got more.Well done to him and AFC

Posted by MALCOLM BENNETT on 30 September 2011 at 07:41

Grant Holt has done very well thanks to Barrow.

Posted by Daniel Law on 22 August 2011 at 11:20

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