Norwich City defender Russell Martin looking for the ‘perfect tonic’ from Arsenal game
Norwich City defender Russell Martin looks on tomorrow's Premier League visit of Arsenal as the perfect tonic after the frustration of sitting through two Scotland defeats on the bench.
The Gunners arrive at Carrow Road (5.30pm) to face a City side without a win in their opening seven league matches under manager Chris Hughton, and desperate to bounce back from three straight defeats.
Martin was an unused substitute in the Scots' 2-1 World Cup qualifying defeat by Wales in Cardiff last Friday night, and their 2-0 Group A reverse in Belgium four days later.
One of seven Norwich players on international duty since they were beaten 4-1 at Chelsea – though Scotland team-mate Robert Snodgrass withdrew with an ankle injury – Martin returned to Colney eager for competitive action after failing to add to his four caps.
He said: 'It was a little bit frustrating going away and not playing. I thought I might have had a good chance, but I didn't. I have kept myself ticking over, though. I had to prepare right as I knew I was coming back to a massive game.
'You can't lose sight of that at all. Coming away losing the two games and not being involved is disappointing but I've got something to look forward to.
'Someone said to me 'It's a waste of time'. It's not a waste of time at all because I want the chance to play for Scotland and when I get that chance I hope I'll take it and play more regularly. But you need to keep yourself ready for when you come back, because otherwise it can be a long couple of weeks.'
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Martin, 26, has faith in Scotland boss Craig Levein to turn things round if he is given the chance, with the national side bottom of their group.
'It could have been so different in both games, and that is what is so hard in football,' he said.
'It is a similar thing to what is happening at Norwich – it is frustration because you know you have all the ingredients and it is just not happening.
'Hopefully it will and the manager is given time, and if he is it will get better.'
Martin also understands Hughton's position, however, trying to prepare for such a key game with a string of senior players scattered across Europe and beyond.
'Yes I do sympathise, especially with the way it's gone with the last two results,' he said. 'You want to work on things, and we've caught up a little bit today. We watched the videos the boys have watched while we've been away, we did a bit in training but it's hard for any manager to deal with, numerous players going away.
'But you have to get used to it. That's what being in this league is about. You want players to be involved with their international set-ups because it means they have done well. It's something you have to adapt to. But the boys say training has been good, just with smaller numbers.
'Monday and Tuesday are your work days and the next two days are always about the tactical side, so nothing really changes there.'
Martin insists there is no anxiety in the City camp over their failure to win a Premier League match yet this season.
'As a group of players, no – maybe outside the group, but not for us, really,' he said. 'We know we've performed well enough to get that win but we haven't got it.
'It's going to be six or seven teams battling it out all season to stay in this league. We know that and as long as we're at the top of that mini-league we'll be OK.
'The sooner the win comes for everyone around the club and outside it, the better. We might stop people saying it's going to be a long old season for Norwich. For us, we know we've deserved to have it. It will come, there is no anxiety about it.'
Martin's international colleague, Snodgrass, rejoined training yesterday after pulling out of the Scotland squad with an ankle problem. Hughton confirmed winger Snodgrass would be in his thoughts for the Gunners' visit, if he suffers no adverse reaction.
There is good news of the rest of City's Scottish contingent, too, with defender Steven Whittaker back in full training more than 12 weeks after damaging ankle ligaments in the pre-season friendly at Celtic, and Simon Lappin now fully fit. Whittaker is set to return to action for City Under-21s in Monday's game at Reading.
Strikers Steve Morison and Simeon Jackson took part in only light training yesterday after playing two matches each for Wales and Canada, respectively, during the break, but will be in contention to face Arsenal.