EPL: Holt Absence Shows Need for Norwich City to Invest in New Striker

Andy Ward@@Wardy1710Contributor IIDecember 22, 2012

NORWICH, ENGLAND - MAY 13:  Grant Holt of Norwich City celebrates his goal during the Barclays Premier Leage match between Norwich City and Aston Villa at Carrow Road on May 13, 2012 in Norwich, England.  (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

Norwich City's magnificent unbeaten run finally came to an end at The Hawthorns, as the Canaries slipped to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of West Bromwich Albion

It has to be said that Chris Hughton's men really missed the presence of Grant Holt against the Baggies, with Steve Morison failing to impress as his like-for-like replacement.

In all honesty, it's days like this when you begin to realise just how pivotal the 31-year-old is to the Norfolk outfits' hopes.

The man has simply been a colossus since joining the Club back in 2009, instantly endearing himself to the fans and netting over 70 goals in the famous yellow and green.

But it's not just goals that Holt brings to the table.

The way in which he selflessly leads the line on his own allows other creative talents such as Wes Hoolahan and Robert Snodgrass the room to breathe, with defenders constantly occupied by the former Shrewsbury man's tireless work-rate and his ability to win pressure-relieving free-kicks on a regular basis.

What's more, that leadership from the front and willingness to run himself into the ground works as an example to follow for his fellow teammates, with high energy football—a trademark of the Canaries rapid ascent in recent campaigns. 

However, without Holt, City looked slightly lost at times in the West Midlands.

The life of a solitary striker can be a lonely existence, and Morison undoubtedly performed the role well on a number of occasions last year, but the void left by Holt was glaringly obvious.

Morison was unable to link the play in the same way that Holt does, and perhaps even more critically, struggled to hold the ball up in the West Brom half, which meant that Albion were able to regain possession with ease in the second half period.

The defeat at The Hawthorns acted a stark reminder regarding the lack of options currently available to Chris Hughton in the striking department, and January will be a key period in trying to address that issue.

In truth, the Canaries have performed superbly to date with limited ability to change personnel around at the sharp end of the team, but the need for more strength in depth is there for all to see.

In the weeks leading up to the window, there has been much speculation around players that have reportedly caught the eye of the Norwich management team with Swansea City's Danny Graham's name cropping up more often than not.

Although he enjoyed a fantastic season for the Jacks last year, Graham has been largely unused by Michael Laudrup ever since the Dane walked through the gates at The Liberty Stadium, and so a switch Eastwards may appeal to the Gateshead native.

According to The Sun, the Canaries may be about to launch a £5 million bid for the hit-man in the new year, and he is certainly the type of player that would mould well into Norwich's existing setup.

Aside from Graham, it would be of little surprise if the Club renews their interest in long-standing target, Craig Mackail-Smith, who was reportedly close to joining in the summer, whilst Carlton Cole and Marouane Chamakh have also been linked in The Daily Mail.

Looking to the future, there will come a time when Grant Holt is no longer around, and so the search for a long-term replacement must begin soon.

If the lack of cutting edge in the Black Country is anything to go by, the prospect of a life without Holt is a very scary one indeed. 

Follow Andy Ward on Twitter


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