Norwich City’s Russell Martin confident of upsetting the odds with Premier League survival
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Russell Martin insists Norwich City’s Premier League survival this season will be another win against the odds.
The Canaries’ defender is convinced Chris Hughton’s squad are on course to seal a third consecutive campaign of top flight football at the expense of some bigger spending rivals. City head to Stoke this weekend a point clear of the Potters plus north-east giants Newcastle and Sunderland, whilst former European Cup winners Aston Villa and a lavishly-assembled QPR outfit remain in peril.
“Yes, it puts it into perspective,” said Martin. “Newcastle have spent a lot of money. Stoke have got a lot more financial resources and have spent a lot more than us and QPR could possibly go down (this weekend) and look at the money they’ve spent. The club have done it on their budget and not gone crazy with anything.
“We’ve got a group of lads who work hard and a real team ethic. When we stay up, people will see that and appreciate the hard work the lads have put in.”
“These are lads who, myself included, were playing at League One level three years ago and in the Championship two years ago and we’ve had to keep improving and working hard. For me that’s why it’s a big achievement and looking at the teams around us, really we’re not doing too bad.”
Martin has echoed Hughton’s mantra the only target that matters now is to win as many of the Canaries’ last four league games.
“The target is to go and win every game to the end of the season and that will definitely make us safe,” he said. “After Sunderland, I said two wins – but Villa and Wigan have gone on a run since then. I think if we win our home games, we’ll be fine. I think if you set a target and get there, everyone relaxes a little bit, so there’s no target.
“I’m confident the next four games we’ve got we can pick up a good amount of points. Other teams are on a good run of form and it’s made it a bit tighter than people would have liked but we’ve been in a good position for a while and hopefully we’ll stay there. The lads all want to be in the Premier League next season – that’s the bottom line and we’re doing everything we can to achieve that.”
Martin has been a key part of a Norwich defence built around centre back duo Michael Turner and Sebastien Bassong. Turner is an injury doubt for Stoke after being forced off early in last weekend’s Premier League win against Reading, but Martin believes he has proved a colossal signing for the Canaries.
“For the stick that Michael took at the start of the season, I think he’s been immense,” he said. “Bass is a big player, a big character in the back four and they’ve done superbly. We defend as a team and a unit and hopefully we’re hard to break down and that’s a good reason why we’ve got a good few clean sheets and looked fairly solid. “Those two will throw their bodies in the way of anything and most weeks they get the praise and rightly so because they’ve done really well together. If you’ve got a consistent pairing in there, it definitely helps having two down the spine of the team who are playing well. You know what you get with both of them week in, week out.”