Thursday, May 22, 2014
Derby striker Chris Martin hopes the next week will be the best of his career as he looks to end the season with a double celebration.
The Rams’ leading scorer has his sights set on being able to call himself a Premier League player when he links up with the Scotland squad for the first time for their international friendly against Nigeria on Wednesday.
Martin helped Norwich win promotion to the top flight in 2011 but was barely used by the Canaries the following season, starting just three league games before he was loaned to Crystal Palace. Another loan spell, at Swindon, followed last season.
He stands on the brink of reaching the Premier League again as Derby prepare to face QPR in the Championship play-off final at Wembley on Saturday, and the 25-year-old is eager to make up for lost time.
“It’s a driving factor for me. I want to get back there,” he said.
“I wasn’t there long enough for my liking last time – I barely touched it. I don’t like to call myself a Premier League player as I wasn’t there long enough.
“I wasn’t fancied at the time to do the job at Norwich – the manager put his trust in others to do the job. That’s what they are paid for and it turned out well for them at the time.
“But the loan spells were a big learning curve and a step in the process for me. I went to Crystal Palace and Swindon and that led to me being here at Derby.”
Martin has been pivotal to Derby’s promotion challenge, with his 25 goals – including one in each leg of the play-off semi-final against Brighton – bringing him to the attention of Scotland.
Scotland take on Nigeria at Fulham’s Craven Cottage just four days after Derby’s date at Wembley.
Martin is joined in the squad by Norwich full-back Steven Whittaker but not City duo Russell Martin and Robert Snodgrass, who are resting injury problems.