U's face the one that got away

COLCHESTER United tried and failed in a sustained bid to lure red-hot striker Grant Holt away from Shrewsbury Town over the summer.

Carl Marston

by Carl Marston

COLCHESTER United tried and failed in a sustained bid to lure red-hot striker Grant Holt away from Shrewsbury Town over the summer.

Ironically, it was today's hosts Norwich City who eventually won the chase to sign Holt, who was last season's leading scorer in League Two with 28 goals (20 in league). The Canaries signed him on a three-year deal, for an undisclosed fee believed to be �400,000.


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Holt was one of seven strikers that United pursued during the close-season. Another was reported to be old boy Jamie Cureton, who is set to be amongst the Norwich substitutes today.

The Essex club were finally delighted to land an experienced striker at the start of this week, in the shape of Kevin Lisbie, and it will be interesting to compare the performances of opposing strikers Holt and Lisbie at this season's curtain-raiser at Carrow Road.

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The U's will certainly have to be on their guard, because 28-year-old Holt has a superb record of scoring on his debut for new clubs. He achieved that feat for previous clubs Barrow, Sheffield Wednesday, Nottingham Forest and Shrewsbury.

“I'm here to score goals but it's not all about me, it's about the team,” insisted Holt, who will probably play alongside Chris Martin up front.

Although U's manager Paul Lambert made eight signings over the summer, he has been upstaged by opposite number Bryan Gunn, who recruited no fewer than 12 signings during the close-season. As many as six of them are likely to start today.

The Canaries have certainly been in impressive form during pre-season, following their relegation from the Championship last May. They won six of their seven friendlies, and drew the other one.

In addition to Holt, fellow new arrivals Michael Nelson (vice-captain), midfielders Owain Tudor Jones and Stephen Hughes are amongst those expected to start.

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