Spillane urges City boss to keep faith with pal Chris

Defender Michael Spillane urged Norwich City manager Bryan Gunn to keep faith with fellow returnee Chris Martin after the striker's timely double helped sink Premier League side Wigan.

Defender Michael Spillane urged Norwich City manager Bryan Gunn to keep faith with fellow returnee Chris Martin after the striker's timely double helped sink Premier League side Wigan.

The Canaries completed an unbeaten pre-season programme with a highly encouraging 3-2 victory over the top-flight team in front of nearly 9,000 fans at Carrow Road.

Martin, who scored 13 times on loan to Luton last season before being recalled for the final year of his City contract, boosted his chances of inclusion for next Saturday's League One opener at home to Colchester with the first two goals against the Latics, before new signing Simon Whaley scored the winner for the second game in a row.

And Spillane, another outcast at Kenilworth Road last term, believes his fellow 20-year-old will deliver the goods for Gunn despite increased competition for places up front.

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“If you play Chris for a number of games, he will always scores goals. Even if he doesn't score in four or five games, you need to stick with him,” said Spillane.

“He wasn't given the chance before when he was left out in the cold and now the gaffer's given him a chance and he's shown what he can do. He's a great finisher and one of the best finishers at the club.”

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Gunn said he was delighted with Martin's contribution since City returned to training five weeks ago.

“He's done himself no harm at all and his whole attitude and the way he's gone about his job in pre-season has been impressive,” said Gunn.

“We've given him an opportunity. We've taken him back from Luton and we feel there is a player in there who will benefit and help us in League One next season, so he's got himself top marks today.”

Martin, who was given a left-sided role in the City attack on Saturday, is taking nothing for granted, however.

He said: “I was very happy to score but I think more importantly the team won and it's a big boost for us and our morale as well going into the first game of the season.

“I was just happy to get on the scoresheet and every player out there is trying to stake a claim to be in the starting eleven come Colchester next week. I hope I've done enough but we'll have to wait and see.

“I think that's the most important thing - that we have competition all over the pitch and you're always being pushed just to get into the starting eleven. You know that you have to perform because if you don't then people will be replacing you.”

As for Spillane, he is hoping his versatility could earn him a place against Colchester after switching positions again to play alongside Gary Doherty in the centre of defence against Wigan, with vice-captain Michael Nelson rested after being knocked out at Crystal Palace and City unable to secure international clearance in time to include Danish signing Jens Berthel Askou.

Said Spillane: “I thought it went all right. We conceded two goals - you can do better on any sort of goals - but I thought we defended well and did well as a group.

“We've got a really good squad coming together, good competition in every single position, so it's looking good at the minute.

“It will be completely up to the manager where I play. He's seen me play in a few different positions now and I hope I get the nod next Saturday. Anywhere on the pitch I will be happy.”

Spillane has been given a fresh start with a new two-year contract and has settled happily into old territory.

He said: “The first couple of days it was a bit weird but now it's just normal to me and I'm really enjoying it. With all the new players, I think we're getting a bond now.”

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