Chris Martin waits to discover if he’s done enough
Chris Martin says life on the Norwich City bench has proved to be a major learning curve – but insists he is ready to take his chance for a recall with both hands.
The Canaries striker has been on the bench for the last seven games, with Simeon Jackson taking his place alongside skipper Grant Holt.
But Martin's goal on Saturday, which helped City come back from two goals down to draw with Burnley, has put him in line for a start at Millwall tonight. The 22-year-old was Holt's regular partner last season and for the first eight league games of the current campaign, but has a philosophical view of life as a subtitute.
'I think any professional footballer will tell you they want to be playing games, so it is frustrating having to watch from the sidelines,' he said. 'I suppose we are not built for that, that's not in our make-up. We want to be playing week in, week out, but I have realised I have to bide my time.
'It always happens in football to anyone – there are not many people who have never sat on a subs' bench in their lifetime.
'I am just trying to deal with that as best I can and just trying to take my chance when I do get the chance. Luckily I was able to do that the other day and hopefully I can do that a few more times.'
Whether the goal, and a late effort that was inches away from being a stunning match-winner, was evidence enough only manager Paul Lambert knows.
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'We will find out tomorrow at the game,' said Martin, who bagged 17 league goals in City's League One title-winning campaign and has two this season.
'I am just trying to do my best when I go on to the pitch. Holty and Simeon have been doing very well together and working well together and creating plenty of chances, so if I have to bide my time a bit more then I don't mind that – but I am hoping I will make enough of an impression to make the manager think a little bit.'
Whatever his role tonight, Martin says the experience is all part of his learning curve.
'You are always learning in football,' he said. 'You are always learning until the day that you retire, I think.
'It's another learning curve for me and I have got to learn to deal with it and get the best out of it, to be perfectly honest, and try and work as hard as I possibly can and hopefully my form stays high and stays good, I suppose, and that can only help me.'
Martin has mixed memories of The Den, having scored after just four minutes there last season in a match City lost 2-1.
'We all know it is going to be a tough game down there,' he said. 'The atmosphere their fans create is something else as well and we are going to have to deal with that as well and hopefully silence them by the way we play and try and get a result.'
Lambert is forced into one change, with midfielder Andrew Crofts suspended for one game after collecting two yellow cards on Saturday, the second moments after he scored City's equaliser in time added on.
'He has been one of our best players this year,' said Martin. 'He has really adapted to life in the Championship very well and he is a very good player.
'He will be missed tomorrow. I think we have got lads of quality to come in and replace him but, yes, Crofty's been magnificent for us this season and he has shown that by getting on the end of things as well, he has added goals to his game.'