Norwich City’s Russell Martin ready to face West Ham
Defender Russell Martin has shrugged off the injury problem that ruled him out of international duty and is fit and ready for Norwich City's televised Premier League game against West Ham United tomorrow.
Martin looks set to keep his place in what could well be an unchanged side for the third league game in a row as manager Chris Hughton prepares to face another of his former clubs at Carrow Road (12.45pm).
The Scotland full-back had to withdraw from the squad for World Cup qualifying matches against Serbia and Macedonia after injuring his left ankle in the Canaries' 1-1 draw at Tottenham a fortnight ago.
He said: 'It was disappointing but I blocked a shot from Jermain Defoe in the second half and felt it straightaway. It was a similar thing to what I did last year and I had to pull out of the squad.
'I had an injection and it feels better. It's not ideal but it feels a lot better than it did. I trained today and there were no problems so it should be fine.'
The 26-year-old Martin admits he would have been pushed even to make Scotland's second game on Tuesday, but has no fears about facing the Hammers.
'I wouldn't have been able to play if I'd had to play again the week after. We tried last year and I didn't do it. The good thing was I'd done it before so I knew the recovery time I needed and even on Tuesday I'd have been struggling,' he said.
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'They wanted me to go back up and I was keen but I tried it a little bit on Monday on the ankle and it wasn't right, so I had to pull out, unfortunately.
'But the most important thing is getting it right for tomorrow and it feels fine and it should be all right.'
Hughton admits the players on duty at White Hart Lane are 'in the driving seat' when it comes to selection tomorrow.
The only question mark is how well striker Simeon Jackson recovers from his travels after two matches for Canada against Panama. Jackson and Wales striker Steve Morison, who replaced him during the second half against Spurs, both played twice for their countries during the international break. Both players missed full training yesterday.
'We'll assess it,' said Hughton. 'Simeon returned on Wednesday night and didn't train with the team today.
'We allowed him to have a recovery day so we just did a light session and we will see how he is and make our decision tomorrow.
'Steve is exactly the same. He did a second day recovery with Simeon and we will assess him in the morning. But both have come through injury-free. It's normal they will be a little fatigued after their exploits. They both played almost 90 minutes each game.'
Hughton revealed that goalkeeper Mark Bunn and midfielder Jacob Butterfield were not yet fit enough to be considered for the West Ham game, while defender Steven Whittaker (ankle) and winger Elliott Bennett (knee) are still recovering from injuries, but striker Harry Kane, who arrived on loan from Tottenham on the last day of the transfer window, could make the squad.
'He's fit and available. It'll be my decision whether to include him in the squad based on the period of time he's been with us. He's done in effect about a week's training with us. He also went off with England Under-21s, so he missed a bit.'
Martin, whose duties were split between full-back and the centre of defence last season, admits his role has become slightly less adventurous under Hughton, though only the crossbar has denied him goals from headers in each of the last two games.
He said: 'I played centre-half for much of last season so it's just getting used to playing at right-back again but I'm really enjoying it, playing behind Robert Snodgrass or Elliott Bennett or Anthony Pilkington. They're all talented boys so you just give them the ball.
'Maybe it's a bit less of an attacking role at the minute, but going away to Spurs you've got to defend first and foremost and that's what the gaffer wants from the back four. It's shown in the last two games, we've been a lot more solid as a team, really.
'The back four stays as a back four and you join in when you want to. We've still got a licence to get forward but only when it's really on and from a solid base. That's what we've been working on.
'We've still got a licence to roam at certain times and playing with a winger in front of you is a lot different because you can give it to him and he will go and do the rest, but I hope that attacking impetus will still be there now and again.'
Martin still hopes to add to his tally of seven goals for City.
'I've had two in a row that hit the bar. I keep getting in the box – at least the gaffer keeps sending me up so I hope I get one soon,' he said.
West Ham boss Sam Allardyce could restore James Tomkins to the heart of the defence in place of Winston Reid, because the New Zealander was playing international football in Auckland on Tuesday.