Martin is the main man
David CuffleyStriker Chris Martin is ready to shoulder the extra attacking burden once again as Norwich City bid to improve their dismal record in London without two of their star forwards.David Cuffley
Striker Chris Martin is ready to shoulder the extra attacking burden once again as Norwich City bid to improve their dismal record in London without two of their star forwards.
Skipper Grant Holt misses tomorrow's trip to Leyton Orient and Saturday's match at Charlton through suspension, while Wes Hoolahan is still rated a doubtful starter with a thigh injury.
It means Martin, the one remaining member of the Canaries' so-called "holy trinity", has added responsibility to help the League One leaders secure the points they need - a maximum of seven from the last five games - to be sure of promotion to the Championship.
They moved one point nearer thanks to his last-minute equaliser from a free-kick against MK Dons at Carrow Road, his 22nd goal of the season. He said: "I think the game was frustrating for most people involved and for the fans, but I enjoyed scoring and I hope that will turn out to be a good point. I've practised a few free-kicks this season and have been lucky enough to score a few as well. Long may it continue. "I was waiting for a long while to get a chance. Luckily I got one there - I had a little sighter just a couple of minutes previous on the other side - and it worked out well and I found the bottom corner.
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"I always fancy myself to score a few. It's been a good season so far but I'm not done yet."
Martin said he understood MK Dons' uncompromising approach.
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"It was frustrating. They used a lot of spoiling tactics, they had a lot of yellow cards but who can blame them? They're fighting for a result as much as we are. They want to take our scalp and we have to deal with that. We still created a lot of chances -enough to win the game and on another day we could have been coming in with a 3-1 or 4-1 victory," he said. City have won just once in their last 25 matches in London, stretching back seven years, and have already been beaten at Brentford and Millwall this season. But, even without Holt, Martin believes they can make some capital gains. "I think we showed last time when Holty was out that we dealt with it very well," he said. "We lost once out of three but won the other two. If we win two more that will possibly see us almost promoted. He's missing for two games, we've got to deal with that and the team that goes out there on Tuesday has to go and win the game."
Martin was left out of manager Paul Lambert's starting line-up against Leeds, when he scored a late winner, and at Tranmere, but was back for the Stockport and MK Dons home games. He said: "The manager took me aside and thought I maybe needed a rest and that was fair play.
"I've been lucky to start a hell of a lot of games this season. Perhaps at the start of the season if you'd said I'd start as many as I have this season I would have taken it.
"The manager's in the right position to see that and to pick and choose his team as he wants and everyone's got to accept that. I think we have - and that shows the spirit in the team. Everyone has done that, whether they've started or come as a sub, theystill contributed."