We can lift City out of trouble
DAVID CUFFLEY Striker Chris Martin believes the hunger of Norwich City's youngsters can help the club recover from a depressing start to the season. While the Canaries have slipped into the bottom three in the Coca-Cola Championship, the 18-year-old has had precious little first team football, playing just one full match in the Carling Cup at Rochdale and making three brief appearances as substitute.
Striker Chris Martin believes the hunger of Norwich City's youngsters can help the club recover from a depressing start to the season.
While the Canaries have slipped into the bottom three in the Coca-Cola Championship, the 18-year-old has had precious little first team football, playing just one full match in the Carling Cup at Rochdale and making three brief appearances as substitute.
The last of those outings came against Scunthorpe at Carrow Road on Tuesday night. Martin had been on the field just two minutes as a replacement for Jamie Cureton when he almost produced the winning goal, his swerving 25-yard effort crashing against the post.
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“As soon as it left my foot, I thought, hang on a minute, this could be in. It was just unlucky, just the wrong side,” said Martin.
“An inch the other way and it could have been in. I was gutted. It would have been the perfect start and a great win for us if it had gone in. I think it was my second touch.
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“It kind of sums up our season a little bit but hopefully the luck will start to turn.”
With two more teenagers, Michael Spillane and Rossi Jarvis, forcing their way into the senior side over the past 10 days, Martin is convinced they are capable of playing their part in manager Peter Grant's plans.
“I think there are a lot of good youngsters at the club and we're hungry to play and I think that's important for young players,” said Martin. “You have to be hungry. I hope the manager keeps picking us because I'm sure we'll do well.
“I haven't had that many chances this season, so it was nice to get a bit of a run-out and I hope it can happen a bit more often.
“It's been a little frustrating but I've just got to keep working hard on the training pitch and see what the manager wants me to do and try to put that into games. Hopefully, I'll get more and more games to try to prove myself again.
“I think you've just got to take it in your stride and try to improve yourself day in, day out and then hopefully you'll be in contention for the team.
“I think I've picked up my form a little bit. I'm feeling sharp in training and I just want to get more chances.”
Martin's stint on the sidelines has been all the more difficult because he made such a bright start to first team football last season, when he scored five times in the space of seven games, won his first professional contract, taking him up to 2010, and England Under-19 recognition.
He said: “I had a great start last season and I thought I was doing well in the summer. It's been frustrating not to get back in the team because I thought I was ready.
“I felt sharp but I've just got to keep working hard, see what team the manager picks and, hopefully, I'm in it.
“I'd back myself to score in any game I start.”
Martin could be just the man to end City's goal drought - they haven't scored for 465 minutes - but he did not blame his fellow strikers.
He said: “I think we just need to create more, to be perfectly honest. I don't think we're creating too many chances and we've not had too many shots. If there's a bit more quality in the final third, goals are sure to come.
“I think we've got the quality in the squad to get a lot of goals, so it is strange that it's not coming. We're still early in the season so I hope we can pick up our form and I'm sure we'll get goals.”
Being in the bottom three in the table - and there may be only Queen's Park Rangers beneath City by the time they visit Loftus Road on Monday night - had not meant panic in the dressing room, said Martin.
“I don't think it matters too much at the moment. Obviously, we don't want to be in there. It's not a nice place to be but I'm sure we'll find our way out of it soon,” he said.
“We've just got to try to put it on one side and focus on each game as it comes and start picking up the wins.
“I don't think we've lost too much confidence. With the performances, you are going to lose a little bit because we're not winning and we're in the bottom three, but I think we can pick ourselves up and get ourselves out of it pretty soon.
“It's a big game on Monday but it's early in the season so can't really put too much on it.”
Asked about Martin's lack of matches, Grant said he had been looking for more consistency from him.
“I keep saying to him, it's an all-time thing, not when you feel like it,” said Grant. “I mean that to be the best, you've got to do it constantly. It can't be 'Once I've done something well, the next 20 minutes I'll do absolutely nothing'.
“I look at Rochdale and he offered us nothing - absolutely nothing.
“He let himself down playing in what he would say is his ideal position, so there are times when you have to get into games, you have to grasp that moment.”