Audio: Russell Martin’s praise for Norwich City’s game-changers

Russell Martin held the Canaries armband on Saturday – but the defender was more than willing to salute City's two big leaders after victory over Queens Park Rangers.

Boss Paul Lambert's decision to bring on Grant Holt and Wes Hoolahan looked inspired as, three minutes after their introduction the pair combined to seal a 2-1 win at Carrow Road.

And for the third time in five matches, it was Holt who scored from the bench to earn City some points – this time, all three.

'I think the gaffer has shown that in the last two years – he's never unwilling to make a change and more often than not, in fact most of the time in the last two years, they have worked,' said Martin.

'So they were great changes, Wes came on and did what he does – he's hard to play against. And Holty, it's been tough for him because he has been in and out when he is been used to playing week in, week out.

'But he's still our leader on and off the pitch and in the way he carries himself.

He is a big character and he has come on and done it again, so I'm really pleased for him.'

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Last season's second Championship meeting saw Martin secure City the win with the only goal of the game after nine minutes.

This time the defender had to wait another six before getting Norwich off the mark – the perfect way to make up for his error that earned Arsenal a 2-1 victory at Carrow Road seven days earlier.

'Just to play a part in winning – it was all about winning, but it's nice for me to get that goal and make up for last week's mistake,' said Martin.

'I didn't dwell on it. I watched it a few times last Saturday night. I was disappointed about it and felt a bit sorry for myself for about an hour, and then you have to move on.

'That's football and thankfully I've come up with a goal and hopefully it makes up for it a bit.

'I'm enjoying it at centre-back and I'm there to defend, but a goal is a nice little bonus. I need to calm the celebrations down though because I was knackered after.

'We would have liked to have kept a clean sheet because I think we limited them to a few chances and they didn't have many. But we've gone up the other end and won it, and that is all that matters.'

City are making a habit of beating the teams they are likely to directly come up against in their bid for Premier League survival.

Swansea City were beaten 3-1 at Carrow Road last month, while the Canaries also taken eight points from top-flight strugglers Bolton, Sunderland, Wigan and Blackburn.

The cushion is now seven points to the relegation zone with 13 games gone and Martin added: 'We are extremely pleased.

'We said this week was a big one after coming on the back of two defeats, and it was against someone we expect to be in and around us as well.

'These are the teams we need to measure ourselves against and we got the result we deserved, I think.

'We played at a real tempo and we were disappointed to concede the goal because we felt fairly comfortable up to then, but the big man has come off the bench and did it again for us.

'And we needed it. It comes in between extremely tough games in Arsenal and Manchester City. It doesn't get much tougher than that.'