We’ve got goals in us – Russell Martin
Defender Russell Martin is backing Norwich City’s supporting cast to contribute their share of goals as the Championship campaign progresses – after hitting the back of the net for the second time this season.
The full-back’s impressive finish against Reading helped put the Canaries into a winning position at the Madejski Stadium last Saturday until skipper Grant Holt’s dismissal shifted the balance of play at half-time.
For 24-year-old Martin, who scored his first for the club in the 3-1 defeat at Doncaster in September, it was only the eighth goal of his career. But he hopes to increase his output, aware that City need goals from all departments.
He said: “We don’t care who’s scoring the goals as long as they’re going in. The more people that score, the better for the team.”
Last season, three players – Holt, Chris Martin and Wes Hoolahan – contributed nearly two thirds of the Canaries’ 106 goals in all competitions.
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So far this term, there has been more of a spread with summer signings Andrew Crofts and Simeon Jackson scoring four each, while even the full-backs have been getting in on the act.
“Those three players will no doubt get their fair share again, but just as long as other people keep chipping in,” said Martin.
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“I hope I’ve got a couple more in me before the end of the season. Adam (Drury) has even scored this season so they’re coming from everywhere and long may that continue. As long as we start keeping them out at the other end we’ll be all right.”
Martin followed his instincts to give City the lead at Reading after a slick one-two with Korey Smith, favouring a shot from a tight angle rather than a square pass to Chris Martin.
“The centre-half didn’t come out and it just kept opening up. I think the ’keeper tried to read it a bit, so I thought I’d have a go and it paid off. If I’d missed I wouldn’t have heard the end of it off Chris, that’s for sure,” he said
Four days earlier, midfielder David Fox had scored his first for the Canaries in the 1-1 draw at Millwall. With Korey Smith ruled out of today’s home game against Leeds by an ankle injury, Simon Lappin currently fulfilling left-back duties and Matthew Gill the latest casualty with a calf injury, the summer signing from Colchester suddenly finds he has a vital role to play.
“We see in training that Foxy is technically a really, really good player and as soon as it falls to him on the edge of the box you fancy him. His finishing is really good,” said Martin.
“He and Crofty complement each other because they can both play but they can both do the dogged side of the game as well. They can both go and win tackles and win the ball and when Foxy gets time on the ball he can hurt teams at this level because his passing is really excellent.
“Their relationship is building with every game. They’ve played only a couple of games together now, but if they continue together I think it will get stronger and stronger. Physically they’re both good and both are comfortable on the ball as well so it’s more than a match for any central midfield pairing in this league.”
Martin, who completes a year at Carrow Road next week, is the only player to have started every match for City this season, with most of his team-mates sidelined by injury or suspension at some stage. Up to eight players were likely to be unavailable against Leeds today – though Michael Nelson, Andrew Surman and Drury are all on the way back - but he believes they have coped well with the disruption.
“We spoke about it the other day. I don’t think people have taken it into consideration,” said Martin. “They’re all starting to come back in dribs and drabs on to the training pitch. It’s a bonus to have them. It feels like three new signings at the minute, looking really fresh.
“They are three big players for us, who are out, so it’s a big loss to any squad but I think we’ve coped really well.”
Martin rated the Reading performance “the best we’ve played for a while” and rued the loss of two points after leading 3-1.
“Although we were down to 10 men at half-time we genuinely believed we were still going to get three points,” he said. “We conceded a little bit too early and again straight after that but we defended really well and people threw their bodies on the line and it was a massive effort to get a draw.
“Draws in this league, being so tight, don’t really do you any good but they could be massive points at the end of the season.”