Alex Pritchard is ‘fine’ with his Blackburn Rovers substitution – says the man who helped bring him to Norwich City over Brighton
- Credit: Matthew Usher/Focus Images Ltd
Alex Pritchard's frustrating Norwich City campaign peaked on Saturday – leaving Russell Martin to wonder if he owes him an apology.
Pritchard was the sacrificial lamb for caretaker manager Alan Irvine after 21 minutes of Saturday's home Championship draw with Blackburn, following Mitchell Dijk's straight card.
The 23-year-old's face said it all and his captain admitted he is more invested in Pritchard than most – given it was Martin's intervention that ensured the playmaker halted his summer journey on the M25 and joined him from Tottenham at Norwich, rather than the skipper's home-town club Brighton.
'I felt sorry for him (Pritchard),' said Martin. 'You're down to 10 men and it's probably between him or Wes (Hoolahan). So it's a lose-lose situation for Alan and his staff. If Wes comes off it's the same reaction, maybe even worse.
'I spoke to Alex and he's fine. I get on really well with him. I know him through a friend and I spoke to him when he was deciding between here and Brighton.
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'I managed to have a little sway in his decision – and I'm not sure if he's happy at me for that! I didn't get a cut either! I spoke to him on the M25. Don't worry about my Brighton-supporting mates though. I'm not fussed about them.'
Albion sit second in the Championship, level on points with leaders Newcastle. City's promotion bid is all but over.
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Martin added: 'What I would say on Alex is we've potentially got one of the best footballers in the league. He was really frustrated on Saturday but he'll be a big player for us for, I hope, a long time. He's been in and out, hasn't really had a chance to keep showing the ability he's got. But we've seen glimpses.
'And do you know what I like about him? He's hungry. He's not happy just to float and not play. He's desperate to play, desperate to do well and show people what he's about. And he'll have his chance to do that before the summer I hope.
'He's a great lad. He can be misinterpreted sometimes as being a little angry man, but he's just desperate to play. He's been frustrated over the last two years he hasn't had the chance to do that.
'He thought he was going to get more time here than he has, but he will be a big part of it. He gets Saturday's decision. Of course he'd rather it wasn't him but he knows he'll get another chance.'