03/06/2008 - Holt: I'm ready to fight for my place

Forgotten man Grant Holt today vowed to return to the City Ground next season and prove his doubters wrong.

After a successful first full season with Nottingham Forest, scoring 17 goals and winning player of the year, he struggled last term, netting just three times.

Such a disappointing return led to manager Colin Calderwood allowing Holt to join Championship Blackpool on loan in March. As a result he missed out on helping the Reds clinch promotion in their final-day showdown with Yeovil.

He has since been linked with a move away to League One Hartlepool, while Welsh hitman Robert Earnshaw has arrived at the City Ground in a £2.65m deal from Derby County.

But Holt plans to return for pre-season on July 1 and do everything in his power to be a success during the third and final year of his Reds deal.

The 27-year-old told the Post: "There have been a few things mentioned and a few rumours but as far as I am concerned I am ready to come back and start the season with Forest.

"I have got to get myself fit, work hard in pre-season and take it from there.

"I feel I have got a point to prove from last year. I did not feel I did as well as I can because of the position I was playing (wide of three front men).

"We will have to see what formation the manager plays. He may tinker with it and play two up front and if he does I will do my best to be in that two.

"We need strength in depth and anyone who went away from that last game of the season would have been naive to think we would keep the same squad.

"Everyone knows the manager will bring in new players to make a bigger squad and bring different bits of quality to it. And, no doubt, he will be looking at wingers too with 'Commo' going.

"It all bodes well for the club and we all know it is going to be tough but the lads have been trying for a few years to get into the Championship and now we are there, all the lads want to prove they are good enough to be there."

Holt made four substitute appearances for Blackpool and was back at the City Ground to see the Reds clinch promotion on May 3.

But he said: "I have not heard anything from the manager so I do not know whether that is a good or a bad thing but I am preparing myself to come back to Forest. I have another year left on my contract and I want to impress.

"I just want to play football and Forest is a big club. I have worked hard for the last two years to help achieve that (promotion) and now we have done it, I do not want to leave.

"I want to start playing games, prove myself and hopefully extend my contract.

"It was great to come back on the last day and I was delighted to see the lads achieve what we set out to do - promotion.

"The extra break will help because I think last season we started and some of the lads were a bit lethargic but a lot of work with the fitness coach paid off as the lads finished the season strongly.

"At present I am ticking over and I did not have the greatest pre-season last time round because the groin was playing up. But now I am just looking forward to playing again and proving a point."

Northern Ireland international midfielder Sammy Clingan, who has yet to agree a new deal at the City Ground, is attracting interest from QPR, Ipswich and Norwich.