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Grant Holt can fire Norwich to Premier League safety - Efan Ekoku

The ex-Nigeria international believes the Norfolk club face a tough task to survive, but that his former side and Swansea City are under less pressure than Neil Warnock''s QPR

Former Norwich City striker Efan Ekoku feels that Canaries forward Grant Holt has the quality to succeed in the Premier League after helping his side secure promotion with 21 league goals last term.

Holt has scored an average of more than a goal every other game since he moved to Carrow Road in 2009, finding the back of the net 45 times in 84 games, and Ekoku - who played for Norwich in the top-flight during the 1993-94 season - believes the 30-year-old could have a big impact in the league next term as his side look set to face a battle to stay in the division.

When asked whether the Canaries'' talisman can keep up his fine form from last season and help fire his side to safety, Ekoku told Goal.com: "It’s certainly possible because he’s a goalscorer.

"He did well in the last campaign and he’s a good all-round player; strong with his back to goal, he scores a variety of goals and he’s a big, strong, powerful guy so he could do well if he gets the service."

Despite praising the former Nottingham Forest man, Ekoku did concede that he will face a tough time in getting the better of Premier League defenders.

He said: "It’s not going to be easy because he’s going to be up against defenders that are that little bit quicker and stronger so there’s that little bit of frustration sometimes when you know you’re playing well but you’re still not quite able to carve out opportunities.

"Strikers coming up from the lower leagues are reliant on their team-mates even more, so it’s even more important to have a good supply line which I’m sure [Norwich manager]  Paul Lambert will be working on.

"If you get chances in the first couple of games then you just have to take them, it gives you that instant confidence, get yourself rolling and hopefully drag your team-mates along with you."

Lambert''s men are odds-on favourites to return to the Championship next season and Ekoku is realistic about his former club''s chances of avoiding the trap door.

He said: "It’s going to be a tough one, they’ve been out of the top flight for a long time now.

"I wouldn’t say a lot has changed [since Norwich were last in the Premier League in 2005] but the clubs that they were close to then competitively such as Blackburn and Bolton have been able to grow a lot stronger and have been fixtures in that time.

"A new powerbase has broadened and strengthened in the league so you’re playing catch up with them, never mind the big teams.

"It’ll be a big challenge on and off the field and a lot of good work will need to be done between now and pre-season, and some more good players will need to be brought in, but the fans and the players will look forward to it and it’s exciting times at the club at the moment."

Despite admitting that the side from East Anglia face a tough task, the 44-year-old believes that last season''s Championship winners, QPR, are under more pressure to succeed due to the spending power of those in charge at Loftus Road.

"I think there’s a lot less pressure on Swansea and Norwich to perform compared to QPR who have lots of money at their disposal," said Ekoku. "Neil Warnock’s got a tough job to not only please the fans but more importantly to please the owners.

"They’ve been a little trigger happy in the last couple of seasons and he has lost an ally in Amit Bhatia [former QPR vice-chairman] so his position has been weakened in the last few weeks.

"He [Warnock] has got a few players who haven’t quite made the grade at Premier League level so he’s got a big job on in bringing some quality players who can perform solidly.

"That won’t be easy because people know QPR have got lots of money and you don’t want any mercenary figures who are just coming for a big wage.

"Warnock apparently wants to bring in seven or eight players to rotate his squad but he’s got to be wary not to disrupt the team spirit within the squad by doing that."

The former forward, who also played at Wimbledon and Swiss side Grasshoppers, feels that Swansea are also likely to struggle, but insisted that the Welsh side would match the achievements of the mega-rich R''s.

He said: "I feel Swansea, similarly to Norwich, will look to keep most of their money in their pocket and wait to see how they’re going in January but unfortunately sometimes you’re so far behind at that point that you can’t bring in the players to make a difference because they can see that you’re going down to the Championship again.

"It’s going to be difficult for all of the promoted sides to win lots of games but I think that Swansea and Norwich will at least do as well as QPR."

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You have no idea how delighted this makes me.  We''re definitely staying up if Efan Ekoku says we are, I find myself more than 100% confident to the point of complacency.  Bring forth your Manchester Cities and your London Elite and we''ll crush them like bugs.  Bugs.  BUGS!

 

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[quote user="Bore Bore Bor"]

You have no idea how delighted this makes me.  We''re definitely staying up if Efan Ekoku says we are, I find myself more than 100% confident to the point of complacency.  Bring forth your Manchester Cities and your London Elite and we''ll crush them like bugs.  Bugs.  BUGS!

 

[/quote]

 

He hasn''t said that has he?

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Next thing you know Andy Townsend will say he did actually play for us, these ex pros will all be coming out of the woodwork in the next few months trying to cream off some of our success.

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How can he possibly know, is he clairvoyant or something? It makes me smile when our wonderful local press keep wheeling these former City players out to make their bold (and always opitimistic) forecasts for the forthcoming Premiership season. Their predictions are no more valid than anybodys. Still, it all helps to fill several column inches I suppose. I''m going to start reading the tea leaves! Or I shall ask the cat.

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