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Norwich City centre spot appeals most to Russell Martin – in the long term, at least

City skipper Russell Martin has a timely chat with referee Paul Tierney during Norwich's win over Watford. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

City skipper Russell Martin has a timely chat with referee Paul Tierney during Norwich's win over Watford. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

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The debate over where Russell Martin should play has run through the end of last season and into this.

The debate over where Russell Martin should play has run through the end of last season and into this.

Since Neil Adams took charge – and then with the summer switch in squad number from two to five – it has seemed the City skipper would settle down as a centre-back.

But of course, things are rarely straightforward – so with full-back duo Martin Olsson continuing his suspension for the next two games and Javi Garrido struggling with a hamstring niggle, the knock-on effect it could be Martin’s return to right-back. If so, expect it to be temporary.

“I had a chat with the gaffer and he prefers me at centre-back,” said Martin. “I’m playing there for Scotland regularly. I spoke to (Scotland manager) Gordon Strachan in the summer and he told me he wants me playing there regularly if possible. And it was a position I was always going to settle into at some point, so why not now? I’m 28 and it’s a good chance for us to achieve something.

“The gaffer wants his captain playing in the middle of the park if possible, so I’ve been enjoying it there. It’s still a case of building a partnership but like I said, I see myself settling in there long term now and I’ve got to make sure my form is good enough to stay there and play here, and keep my place in the Scotland team as well.”

It’s been a traditional start to Championship life for the Canaries, with the games piling on top of each other – although that’s arguably less of an issue when they bring back-to-back victories. And Martin is confident that as the early-season games keep coming, Norwich will start to really hit their stride – starting of course, with Saturday’s (12.15pm) East Anglian derby at Ipswich.

“That is the beauty of this league,” added Martin. “Sometimes in the Premier League you’re waiting up to 10 days for a game and it can feels like a long, long time between games. But here they’re fast and furious, and I think most of the lads prefer it that way. Yes it’s physically a little bit tougher, but I think in general I prefer it with games coming – and the training is all about just staying on top of things and staying sharp.

“You want to be playing football out there. That’s the main reason you work so hard during the week.

The City skipper added: “We need to patient as well. That sharpness will come. It takes four or five games, any footballer will tell you, to get that bit when you feel physically right on top of your game. That will come and as it does, hopefully we’ll be even more clinical in front of goal than we have been.”

Follow Michael Bailey on Twitter @michaeljbailey

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