Ton-up Canary star Chris is loving life near top of table
Norwich City striker Chris Martin, from Beccles, is hoping to play his 100th match for the club tomorrow at home against Portsmouth.
And the match winner for City last Saturday against Derby has admitted the Canaries are enjoying the Championship high life.
Martin’s third goal in the last six games fired Paul Lambert’s men up to fourth in the table after another impressive awayday at Pride Park.
David Fox’s deflected strike and Martin’s clinical close-range header ended the Rams’ six-game winning league streak in the East Midlands.
City picked up where they had left off after a derby demolition against Ipswich – and Martin revealed he is revelling in the time of his footballing life.
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“It’s probably the highest position I have been in as a player, which is always good,” he said. “You want to play at the highest level you can and I am very much enjoying it. To score as well is going to keep my confidence up. It’s a little bit different to my previous experience with Norwich in the Championship, but it’s very good for the club, the supporters and the lads and if we can keep plugging away I’m sure we’ll be up there a little while longer.
“I think it’s just a lot more positive this time around in the Championship because if you are winning games then the atmosphere is quite positive.
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“Especially after the league title win last year we have kept that momentum going and that good feeling with us as well. We’re hoping it continues for a long time.”
Martin, however, also preached caution with City able to look down on the majority of their league rivals.
“The table suggests we are fourth or fifth best but I don’t know, to be honest,” he said. “There are a lot of good sides in this division.
“Teams may have started off poorly or be in a bad run right now but can easily turn it around. I don’t think it shows the whole picture yet.
“Ask me again in March and it might be a little bit more realistic. We know we trust ourselves and our own ability and this result was massive after last weekend.
“We just said in the changing room that it was important to back it up. We go above Derby now and it keeps us in the play-off picture.
“People may take notice of it, but we are not worried about what people think. We are just concentrating on ourselves and that has stood us in good stead so far, and as long as we keep performing the way we have done here then we’ll be fine.”
Martin felt Lambert’s men needed both silk and steel to sink Derby.
“I think we showed both sides to our game,” he said. “Excellent passing moves, give and goes in the first half and in the second half I think we showed our fighting spirit to dig in and hold onto the lead. It was a very, very good three points.
“We caught Derby out a bit cold because we were two goals up very quickly. I think we have been accused of starting a little bit slowly this season and taking our time to get into games.
“We showed no fear here and that is credit to the lads because I think we played some good stuff in the first half.”
Martin was also delighted to despatch a rare headed goal from Simon Lappin’s pin-point delivery.
“I didn’t have too much to do, to be honest,” he said. “It was a great cross from Lapps and I just ghosted in there. I played the ball out wide and didn’t have to do too much until the ball hit my head and was delighted to see it go in the corner.
“I can’t claim to be that good a header of a ball because I don’t score many goals like that. As a striker you have to feel confident when you go out there – otherwise you can get down on yourself. But it gives you confidence knowing you play alongside players who will create chances.”
Martin believes the short-term addition of Arsenal’s cultured youngster Henri Lansbury gives City an even sharper attacking edge.
“We showed that at times when we cut Derby open,” he said. “We have creative players like Wes (Hoolahan) and now Henri.
“We always fancy ourselves to create chances in the team and as long as we do we know we’ll score goals. It’s great to play alongside those type of players because you know pretty much every game you will get at least one or two chances.
“We have a lot of quality on the bench and with our injuries we’ve shown already you need that in this league. That has been proven in seasons gone by. The main thing is being able to rely on people. As long as you know your mate is going to be there alongside you to the end that is a great feeling to have.”