Graphic: City defender Russell Martin says current squad better than one from 2010/11 promotion season - but do you agree?
15:58 19 August 2014
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The memories are already flooding back for Russell Martin.
The Canaries captain was a key cog in City’s promotion push to the Premier League at the first attempt back in 2011 – and now he’s aiming to repeat the feat as City bid for a successful first attempt at their Premier League return.
So while his vow on City’s squad quality is understandable given where each group originated, the sentiment itself underlines Martin’s determination to see top-flight football return to Carrow Road sooner rather than later.
“Not much has changed to be honest,” said Martin. “Most teams in the Championship have been in the Premier League, so you’re going to great stadiums, great atmospheres. It’s fast and furious, and it’s up to us to control that and dictate the tempo.
“Last time, we got to grips with it about five or six games in – and really started doing those things. And we did that against Watford too, albeit against 10 men. But the more we do that, especially at Carrow Road, the better we will be.
“And we have to be patient at times. That was the problem in the first 10 minutes of the second half on Saturday – we wanted to score every time we got it. We need to be patient, we need to dictate – but that will come. We’ll keep working on it.
“We’ve got a great set of lads. I don’t know if more will come in, but with the group we’ve got now I see similarities from the last time we went up, and we’ve probably got a better squad now than we did then.
“So it’s all there for us. It’s up to us to make sure we stay on top of it. We set our standards on Saturday and let’s make sure we maintain that, and see where it takes us.”
Of course, the flippant answer to that is Carrow Road – and tonight’s visit from a Blackburn side that was sharing the Premier League with City three seasons ago. Their own start to the season has been promising, including a draw with Cardiff at Ewood Park. But for Norwich, being at home and presented with the chance to earn six points in the space of four days shouts just one thing: opportunity.
“That’s what it feels like really – and if we win the game then we will be right up there already,” added Martin.
“I know it’s still early and you can’t really tell anything until 10 or 12 games in. And even then, in the Championship you never really know.
“But it’s a good chance to build on this, and we’re talking about momentum now. That’s what we need to gain, and as quickly as possible. Once we do, I think we’ll be a force to be reckoned with, that’s for sure.”