Aston Villa

Lambert to raid old club for Holt and Pilkington

New Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert is lining up a raid on former club Norwich City with Grant Holt and Anthony Pilkington in his crosshairs a Squeaky Bum Time source tells us.

Lambert was installed as Alex McLeish’s successor on 2 June after he was sacked following a disastrous first campaign in charge that saw Villa finish just two points above the relegation zone.

The 42-year-old inherits a dressing room bereft of confidence and has already started working on his summer transfer targets as he desperately strives to freshen up his squad prior to the new season which starts in August.

With owner Randy Lerner promising him funds to invest in new recruits inevitably Lambert has been linked with a number of Norwich players in the wake of his defection to Villa Park.

Top of his shopping list is a partner  for Darren Bent and it appears as if want away Holt is the man he wants to play alongside the England international after a stunning debut season in the Premier League that saw him score 17 goals.

Speculation over whether the 31-year-old will remain at Carrow Road has intensified after he submitted a transfer request that was rejected by chief David McNally who stated he wasn’t for sale.

“We want him to stay. He is our captain and has been our top scorer for the last three years. He is not for sale and we would not encourage anyone to bid for him,” McNally told the Guardian.

New Canaries boss Chris Hughton has also stated that it his his ‘mission’ to keep Holt at the club after he was unveiled at a press conference on Thursday.

Hughton said: “He is a quality player, no doubt about that. And with his record – to score the goals he did last season – there wouldn’t be any manager coming in who wouldn’t want to keep a player of that quality.

“I’ve only just come through the door a few minutes ago so I have not had the opportunity to speak with him but that will be one of the priorities. He is contracted to this club. He won player of the season for the last three seasons so I absolutely would like him here.”

Lambert is also reportedly chasing Anthony Pilkington who he brought to East Anglia from Huddersfield Town 12-months ago for £2 million.

The 23-year-old was one of the standout performers for the Canaries after making a seamless transition from League One to the top-flight scoring eight goals including a stunning free kick at Villa Park last November.

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