Grant Holt has hailed the Bluebirds supporters for his warm welcome on his Barrow AFC return – but says he is not back at Holker Street just for the acclaim.

Holt pulled on an AFC shirt for the first time in 14 years on Saturday, when he came off the bench in the 2-0 defeat to Macclesfield Town.

His introduction midway through the second half provoked the biggest cheers of the afternoon, and no doubt helped bring in a gate of 1,644 – more than 500 more than for the previous home game with Aldershot.

But, while Holt has been delighted at the reception he has received from AFC fans and the reaction to his return to the club where he started to climb the footballing ladder, he is determined to show he is not back in Barrow just for the adoration.

Instead, the 36-year-old, who has been to Norwich City, Aston Villa, Wigan Athletic and Nottingham Forrest – among others – in a fine career since he departed the Bluebirds in 2003, is out to make an impact in the National League, on and off the pitch.

“It’s nice to be back, but I’m not here for a clap and a ‘great, he’s back’,” said Holt, who has taken on the role of player/coach under new manager Ady Pennock. “I’m coming here to show the Grant Holt who left 14 years ago can come back and still do it, still offer a lot to this football club. That will come.

“We’ve got some good weeks of training coming up, and you will start seeing the best of me in those few weeks.”

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