Derby striker Chris Martin unlikely to be fit for Norwich City clash

Chris Martin (left) battles with Carlos Cuellar during Derby's 2-2 draw with Norwich City in Decembe

Chris Martin (left) battles with Carlos Cuellar during Derby's 2-2 draw with Norwich City in December. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Former Norwich City striker Chris Martin is unlikely to make a Carrow Road return with Derby County on Saturday.

The Beccles-born 26-year-old was a thorn in City's side in a 2-2 draw at the iPro Stadium in December, helping tee up Johnny Russell for the Rams' opener before earning and scoring a penalty himself.

However the Canaries academy graduate, who has scored 19 goals in 41 games in all competitions so far this season, has missed his side's last seven matches with a hamstring injury.

Derby first-team coach Paul Simpson has now admitted the trip to Norfolk is likely to come too soon for Martin, preventing the striker making his first appearance at his former stomping ground.

The Rams are hopeful that midfielder George Thorne will be fit for the clash of two of the Championship's title hopefuls though, after the 22-year-old returned to training following a thigh problem.

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'They have still got a chance but I think it is fair to say at the moment George has got more of a chance than Chris,' Simpson told the Derby Telegraph.

'George has done part of the training session on Tuesday morning. Chris is still working one-to-one with the fitness coach.

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'There is still a little bit of a bleed in the hamstring so this weekend may be a little bit too early for Chris.'

With loan striker Darren Bent (hamstring) and midfielder John Eustace (knee) also out, that news comes as a big blow for Rams boss Steve McClaren, as well as Martin, who scored 39 goals in 117 games in helping City rise from League One to the Premier League.

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