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14 May 2015

Exclusive interview with former City skipper

Norwich City's fanbase will play a key role in Saturday's Sky Bet Championship play-off semi-final second leg against Ipswich Town (12:15), according to former derby hero Grant Holt.

A sell-out crowd will see the two sides go head-to-head for a place at Wembley for the first time in 30 years, after they played out a 1-1 draw at Portman Road last weekend.

Speaking exclusively to, Holt said: "If they can get the ground rocking early on then they’ll have a good impetus to go on and win the game.

“Ipswich started like a house on fire the other day, and John Ruddy made two great saves. Norwich soaked up the pressure well, and the complexion of the game changed.

“If they can get an early goal to quieten the away fans it will set their stall out. It will be an intense atmosphere at the weekend, and I’m sure the lads realise what they have to do.

“At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how they do it. They just need to win, get through and worry about the final after that."

The 34-year-old has substantial pedigree against City's rivals, having notably struck a historic treble during a 4-1 victory at Carrow Road in 2010.

Holt then formed part of the side which completed an emphatic double courtesy of a 5-1 success at Portman Road later that same season, and added: “These are the games you play football for, and are the ones you want to be at your best in.

“When it came to derby matches, I really enjoyed them. To score a hat-trick in the first one I played for Norwich was massive for me and it’s one of the most memorable moments I’ll have in my career.

“I don’t think anyone else has done that in the league, so it was part of a good year. We beat them twice, and then crowning it off with promotion was even better.

“In that dressing room, it won’t matter who becomes the hero. They’ll all just want to win now and move on to the next one where they have a chance of getting back up to the Premier League."

After leaving the Canaries in the summer of 2013, Holt returned to Norfolk earlier this campaign with Huddersfield Town - where he spent time on loan from Wigan Athletic.

The Cumbrian forward is currently undergoing rehabilitation for a serious injury picked up while with the Terriers, and paid tribute to the City supporters, commenting: “I got a fantastic reception, although it wasn’t easy being 5-0 down and having people singing your name.

“Hopefully at some point I’ll get back and maybe get that reception again where I can properly acknowledge it. Last season was disappointing for the fans, but now they’ve got a chance to get back up.

“Norwich have done well against Ipswich this season, but once you get to the game it doesn’t really matter what’s gone before. There will be an added spice, so they’ve just got to do what they do best.

“If they do that, hopefully it should give them the belief to go on and achieve what they need to."

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