Martin ready for his chance
Michael Bailey Striker Chris Martin believes former boss Glenn Roeder's decision to ship him out on loan last season will prove to be a good thing for Norwich City. The 20-year-old was so far out of Roeder's plans, he spent the campaign at League Two club Luton Town with fellow Academy product Michael Spillane.
Striker Chris Martin believes former boss Glenn Roeder's decision to ship him out on loan last season will prove to be a good thing for Norwich City.
The 20-year-old was so far out of Roeder's plans, he spent the campaign at League Two club Luton Town with fellow Academy product Michael Spillane.
And while Martin senses a change to the Colney atmosphere under Roeder's successor, Bryan Gunn, he also believes his former boss's decision will be to the Canaries' benefit this season.
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“Certainly I think the atmosphere is different,” said Martin. “Obviously Michael and I were out of favour under the previous manager, and the new gaffer has said to both of us he is going to give us a fair chance, which is all I could ask for.
“I think, under the previous manager, I didn't get much of a chance.”
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Having burst on to the City scene in January 2007, scoring five goals in the space of seven matches, Martin was limited to just three appearances under Roeder before being shipped out.
But the striker denies this season will be a case of trying to make up for lost time.
“Last year if I'd been in the team I would have stayed, but the best thing for me was to go out on loan,” admitted Martin.
“I don't think I need to make up for lost time. The chance to go to Luton was an opportunity I had to take at the time and I think it probably proved to be a good decision for me, and hopefully a good decision for Norwich, to gain that experience.”
Some Norwich fans may also argue Martin's sudden rise to prominence - off the back of a four-goal haul in the FA Youth Cup at Portsmouth, his trail-blazing start to league football and his subsequent three-year professional deal - gave him too much, too soon.
“Looking back now you could say that, but I don't think so,” said Martin. “I thought I dealt with it all quite well at the time.
“I think the next season was the most crucial thing. I didn't play much and I think in that following season, it was hard to deal with not being around the squad and not being involved, and it probably hit my confidence.
“You only get confidence by playing, and playing well. I haven't had much of a chance to do that at Norwich in recent seasons.
“But when I got to Luton, Mick Harford played me a lot and it gave me a chance to go out and get my confidence back, I suppose.”
And the new, confident Martin - fresh from a season of League Two battles and with a Johnstone's Paint Trophy medal - is enjoying being back at the club he joined at the age of 10.
“It's exciting, really, to get back into it and be looking forward to playing for Norwich again, which is what I always wanted to be doing,” said Martin.
“I never wanted to leave Norwich in the first place. It was just a chance to get out to a good club in Luton, but in a bad situation at the time, and try and help myself with the situation I was in under the old manager.
“I wanted to prove to people and to myself I could do it, and I had a good time last year. I got a lot of games under my belt and that can only be good for me.
“This pre-season has been just as tough as I've done before. We are working hard doing double sessions every day. I've come to expect it, which does makes it a little bit easier in a way, but it's just about building yourself up for the first game of the season. I think that is what everyone looks forward to.
“Personally I feel good, although I've been aching in a few places. It's always a shock to the system, no matter how much running you do through the summer.
“We're looking forward to the friendlies against Fakenham (on Friday) and Dartford (on Saturday), and then Scotland, because the only way to get fit for playing football is to play football.”
Martin could have either Jamie Cureton or Cody McDonald as a striking partner next season, although he expects his manager to add to those options before the start of the season.
And while he is hoping to stake his claim for a regular first team place, Martin also acknowledges he is just looking forward to being back and involved at Norwich.
“Obviously a first team place is what I'm looking for. All the lads would say that,” said Martin. “But I need to prove I am worth that to the manager and worth a starting place.
“It will be great to run out again at Carrow Road in front of 25,000 supporters. It is always an honour to pull on the yellow shirt.
“I suppose Norwich fans haven't seen me play for 18 months and I think I've come back a better player, a more experienced player, from my time at Luton.”