Cruise control the key for Norwich City defender Martin

Finding an antidote to express pace is Russell Martin's formula for restoring defensive solidity to the Norwich ranks.

Martin and his colleagues are unlikely to enjoy any respite this afternoon, with Rangers' flyer Shaun Wright-Phillips completing a fearsome Premier League trio to face the Canaries in recent weeks.

City's backline struggled to cope with Aston Villa's Gabby Agbonlahor and Arsenal's Theo Walcott either side of the international break – but Martin is undaunted at the prospect of Norwich's defence trying to subdue another wide boy.

'Pace is the hardest thing to defend against,' he said. 'I don't think you're going to come up against two any quicker than them (Agbonlahor and Walcott), that's their strength. You're going to come up against that nearly every week in the Premier League, people with pace and power and that's the main difference, the athleticism of most of the players in this league.

'We need to find ways to combat that and we work on it – work on trying to get people to help each other out. Against pace like that, you can't be left one-on-one on too many occasions because you're going to get hurt. It's as simple as that, no matter who you are.


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'We've been working on that and we know we need to defend better as a team. In the last few games we need to get back to what we were doing before the Blackburn game for five or six games

'I thought we looked quite solid and we deserved a clean sheet or two. We need to get back to that. If we can get back to that solid base, we'll go on and win games.'

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Martin revealed City have spent plenty of time on the Colney training fields during the build-up to nullify QPR's attacking threat. The Scottish international was a tour de force for long spells against Arsenal last weekend, but played an unwanted role in the Gunners' match-winner.

'Last week we still could have nicked a result and weren't quite at our best,' he said. 'This week's been all about getting to back to what we're good at and concentrating on ourselves and going out there and playing the way we know we can. It's been a good week, it's been a really tough week of training.

'There's a fine line, but it's individual mistakes that are costing us. It's the same as at the start of the season when we gave a few penalties away, but that's the difference in this league. You just can't afford to do it. You get punished. Cut that out and take the performances in general, I think they've been really good and unfortunately it's been me and Leon (Barnett) in the last two weeks. We know it can't happen again and I hope it won't.'

Martin's New Year's Day strike was the only goal that separated the clubs in last season's Championship duels, but the defender insists a top-flight re-match is a totally different ball game.

'They've strengthened a lot, especially the centre-halves, and they've signed Wright-Phillips. They've improved, they play a lot more football than they did last season,' he said. 'They were quite direct, they were tough to play against, but I think we've got stronger as well. It will be a good game. You can definitely take things from last season because they've still got a lot of the individuals who played last season. We learned a bit about them and we're confident of getting a result.'

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