Promotion rivals beware: Holt is back to his best

David CuffleyCity boss Paul Lambert hailed skipper Grant Holt as "back to his best" after he scored one goal and had a hand in the other two in the 3-1 victory at Huddersfield.David Cuffley

City boss Paul Lambert hailed skipper Grant Holt as "back to his best" after he scored one goal and had a hand in the other two in the 3-1 victory at Huddersfield.

Holt's 27th goal of the season brought the scores level after 69 minutes before he played a key part in setting up two more for substitute Stephen Elliott.

Since returning from a three-match ban, the captain has scored four times in six League One games.

"They were brilliant goals. Grant did great," said Lambert. "Grant's goal was a big moment for us, it put us on the front foot.

"He has got a huge desire to get into the box and it's a lovely ball from Wes (Hoolahan) to cut it back for him and Grant gets to the front post - a terrific finish - and he set up Stephen for the second goal.

"He's back to his best. It was terrific centre-forward play, very good."

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Lambert was delighted, too, to see Elliott make a match-winning contribution on only his second appearance since arriving on loan from Preston.

"It was there for everybody to see," said Lambert. "He is a natural player - nine caps for the Republic of Ireland means you are not too bad a player in that sort of company.

"I am absolutely delighted with his contribution - it's never easy to come into a side which is going as well as what we are and dislodge anybody but again I thought he was outstanding when he came on.

"If you're part of the squad, as I've said before, everybody in the football club needs to pull in the same direction, not just the 11 lads that play - everybody - and we again proved the point."

City, a goal down inside three minutes, were distinctly second best in the first half, though Lambert felt they soon recovered from the blow.

He said: "Huddersfield started the game really well, put us on the back foot after about a minute or so and we took a little bit to get going - 10, 15 minutes but after that, I thought we started to get a grip of the game.

"You always are worried when you lose a goal as early as that, but the lads showed great character never to wilt and kept on going and saw it through.

"It's a hard place to come, they've not been beaten here all season so I'm absolutely delighted."

Lambert made one change by recalling midfielder Darel Russell and omitting winger Anthony McNamee, despite winning all three games during Russell's suspension.

"Darel Russell came in and I thought he was outstanding," said Lambert. "Mac has been playing on top of his game but Rusty's been pivotal to where we've got this far and I thought his game grew."

A seven-point lead over second-placed Leeds and a 12-point gap to third place will not allow Lambert to relax, however.

He said: "There is no point in not getting our own house in order and relying on other teams, but our own house at this moment is in order, we are playing really well, and the crowd are with us, which is a major help to us."