Russell Martin - Norwich City will be able to replace Grant Holt
09:45 04 June 2012
Norwich City can find a striker to fill Grant Holt’s shoes if he makes a summer move, according to defender Russell Martin.
The Canaries’ top scorer and skipper is just a third of the way through a three-year contract, but has repeated his demand for a transfer, hot on the heels of manager Paul Lambert’s exit to Aston Villa.
Martin acknowledged that Holt, with 70 goals in three seasons for the club, would be a hard act to follow, but said he believed City already had players ready to step up – and the next manager would also have his own ideas on bolstering the attack.
“Holty’s been brilliant. He’s his own man, Grant, and he’s made his decision, for whatever reason – only he knows that,” said the Scotland international.
“At the minute he’s still a Norwich City player. If the time comes when he has to move on it will be a loss for the club because he’s been great for us but I’m sure the club have got people lined up and a new manager coming in will already have his targets.
“We’ll have to bring in someone to replace him. It’s big shoes to fill but I’m sure someone can step up. We’ve got Steve Morison, who got some great goals for us last season, some important goals, and he might get a chance to step up to the plate even more than he did last season.
“We’ve got people there, waiting and hungry – James Vaughan is back from injury. I’m sure a new manager coming in will want to bring someone is as well. So it will be a loss because he’s a big character, Holty, but in football people change, people move on and we’ll have to move on if he does go.”
National newspaper reports have suggested the 31-year-old Holt may follow Lambert to Villa Park.
“He’s done brilliantly for the gaffer so I’m sure the gaffer will have people in mind but he might want a complete change, he might not take any of the boys,” said Martin. “Whoever he takes and wherever Grant goes, he’ll do a great job. Hopefully too many changes won’t be necessary but you have to row with the tide, unfortunately.”
Martin, 26, speaking on Talksport, said a new manager coming in would keep the current squad on their toes.
“It might work in our favour,” he said. “A lot of teams struggle in their second season but with a new manager coming in everyone has to prove themselves again and everyone is on a clean slate so it might give us a bit of fresh impetus going into the new season.
“People who weren’t playing or in favour under the previous manager might have another chance. It might get us that hunger again so hopefully it will be a positive thing.
“I’m sure the club will be trying to get it resolved quickly and I think, whatever manager comes in, he’s inheriting a squad where the strength lies in our team spirit. The togetherness and the closeness of the lads has played a major part in getting us through the last two or three years.
“Whoever comes in will have their own ideas and make a few changes and hopefully he thinks he’s inheriting a good squad because we’ve got a really strong squad here at the minute.”
Martin admitted he knew little about the potential targets for the managerial vacancy, with Cardiff’s Malky Mackay, Celtic’s Neil Lennon and Birmingham’s Chris Hughton among those tipped to succeed Lambert.
“I played with Neil Lennon very briefly at Wycombe and he’s a good man but the boys haven’t got any preference,” he said. “You put your trust in the board and the chief executive to make the right decision for the club as they did with Paul Lambert.
“We’ll leave it to them. The boys are on holiday at the moment, enjoying a well-deserved break and whoever they appoint, we’ll be back for pre-season and looking forward to it.”
Martin, one of Lambert’s first signings at Carrow Road back in November 2009, spoke of his former boss’s strengths as he prepares to take over at Villa.
“I don’t think you can emphasise enough how good he has been for the club and the players as individuals,” he said. “He brought a lot of us to the club from lower levels and stuck with us, has been loyal to us, put trust in us and we did all right in the Premier League last season.
“He’s a great manager and I’m sure he’ll do well wherever he goes. “He’s just a very intelligent man manager. He leaves the coaching to his assistant and coaches a lot of the time and just keeps an eye on things.
“Where his strength lies is keeping everybody happy. There are players in the team who haven’t played many games but they’re still happy, which is hard to come by when players are in and out of the team.
“He’s got a great way of dealing with the lads, putting an arm round them when they’re low as well as being serious and having a joke.
“When it’s a match day he’s deadly serious and you know he’s a winner and he demands respect.”