Martin: Norwich City will thrive on promotion pressure
PUBLISHED: 10:37 29 March 2011
Focus Images 2011
Norwich City defender Russell Martin believes his team-mates will relish the pressure of a high stakes Championship promotion run-in.
Paul Lambert’s men occupy the second precious automatic spot behind long time leaders QPR by just a point from third-placed Swansea ahead of this weekend’s latest Carrow Road test against struggling Scunthorpe.
Fellow promotion contenders Nottingham Forest, Swansea and Cardiff have all stumbled this season after threatening to move into Rangers’ slipstream – but the former Peterborough full-back is confident City can hold their nerve.
“I think maybe teams have put a certain amount of pressure on themselves but we haven’t, not at any time in the season; we’ve never said we were going to go and get second and try to hang on to it,” he said. “As far as we are concerned, every step we’ve gone we are chasing someone in front of us and that is still the same. If you start looking over your shoulder at any point, that’s when it starts to affect you. But the gaffer has been like that from day one, last year and this year. You never look over your shoulder because then a few nerves creep in.
“We have always gone for the team above us and invariably we’ve chased them down.
“It’s going to be a bit harder this time with QPR, but while we are there we’ll keep going and keep trying to grind out results and hopefully it will get us where we want to go.”
Last year’s feel-good factor should also help City’s cause, one which has been to the fore since the close season and continues to play its part.
“Around the city I think the boys have all noticed it this year,” he said. “They have been great, the following. Even the one up at Hull. Everywhere is a journey from Norfolk, but it’s unbelievable the good feeling you get from fans in and around the city when you are just walking about town or out and about, having some food. Even at the games.
“It makes you want to play for the club, it really does. And all the boys that have come here, the new lads have fitted in straight away and realised how big it is to play for a club like this with the fan base we have got.
“The boys have taken to it really well and they cope with the pressure really well.
“People expect us to do things but we have created that pressure ourselves, so we enjoy it and hopefully they’ll carry on supporting us until the end of the season because it’s a massive thing.”
Martin admits sealing consecutive promotions would be one of the greatest achievements in the club’s long history – and the reliable defender knows what it will take.
“It takes a certain amount of mental strength, that’s for sure, focus and players – good players – and the fans behind us, and the manager, and the belief we have got and momentum we have had for the last year really, which is unbelievable,” said Martin.
“The gaffer has said it’s life-changing. For the fans, for us, it’s where you want to be.
“It’s the best league in Europe, if not the world, and we are totally 100pc focused in trying to achieve that.”
• Norwich top scorer Grant Holt is in the running for March’s Championship PFA fans’ player of the month award.
City’s skipper is up against the likes of QPR’s Adel Taarabt, Watford’s Danny Graham, Bristol City’s Nicky Maynard and Leeds’ Jonny Howson in the poll decided by supporters.
Fans can cast their vote at fansaward.givemefootball.com