Russell Martin ready for central role
AUDIO: Russell Martin would be happy to fill in at centre-back against Crystal Palace tonight – especially as he learned how to play the position from one of the best.
Norwich City are in need of central defensive cover for the visit of the struggling Eagles to Carrow Road (7.45pm), with Elliott Ward serving a one-match ban and injured duo Michael Nelson and Zak Whitbread still some way from first team contention.
And although Danish centre-half Jens Berthel Askou is the natural candidate as Ward’s stand-in alongside Leon Barnett, Martin can call upon his education under Tony Adams during the Arsenal and England legend’s time as manager at Wycombe Wanderers.
It means Martin, 24, will have no qualms about switching from right-back if asked to do so by City boss Paul Lambert.
“Yes of course, I’d play anywhere as long as I’m in the team, so if I have to do it then I’m more than ready,” said Martin. “I’ve done it a few times and I played there here on Boxing Day against Millwall. I don’t mind playing there at all. When I started I played there quite a bit under Tony Adams at Wycombe. He was interesting, Tony. He was good to learn from to be honest. I had never played there before but I played there for him for a few months actually and it went OK. Then I slowly made my way back out.”
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With only Sunday and yesterday at Colney to get things sorted on the training ground following Saturday’s goalless draw at Championship leaders Queens Park Rangers, Martin admitted the quick turnaround does not make for ideal preparation for whoever steps into Ward’s shoes.
“It’s a bit tough when it’s Saturday-Tuesday games because you don’t get as much time (to work on things) because it’s about recovery more than anything,” said Martin.
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George Burley’s Palace side arrive at Carrow Road sitting 23rd in the table with just one point on their travels this season – and despite doing so well at highly-fancied Rangers at the weekend, Martin believes there is no chance of complacency tonight.
“No, not at all; the gaffer deflects all that pressure from us really, he takes it in himself and it’s great,” said Martin. “He just tells us what he expects and that is to go out and play 100 per cent and positively and confidently every week, and hopefully we carry on doing that.
“So far it’s brought us great success and I think if we carry on doing that, especially at home, we’ll win more often than we lose.
“Palace have had a bit of trouble with the finances but they’re looking to get a bit more settled now. George Burley has brought in his own players and he’s got a lot of young players. You always get one thing with young players that come in – they’re hungry, and they work hard and will work 100 per cent, so they will make it really tough for us.
“But at home especially, with the crowd behind us, as long as we impose our game early I fancy us against most teams really.”