Russell Martin is proud of Norwich City’s efforts
AUDIO: Russell Martin believes the Canaries are capable of bridging the gap between the haves and the have-nots in the Championship this season.
City came away empty-handed from new leaders Cardiff on Saturday, but their performance in defeat left behind a clear reminder that the Championship isn't just about two clubs.
The trip to south Wales came just three weeks after City went to deposed leaders QPR and did everything but bring home all three points.
And Canaries right-back Martin believes the performances are proof that last year's League One champions can mix it with teams many believe will be in the Premier League next season.
'It is a massive gap between where we were and where they are,' he said. 'The fact that they can sign someone like Craig Bellamy on loan shows the financial gap between both teams.
'But we have gone to QPR away now, with the financial power they have got and the squad they have got, to here at Cardiff and if you take away 10 minutes from both of the games I don't think you have seen a massive difference in the teams.'
City had to fight back from losing two early goals, but that response helped them halve the deficit through Wes Hoolahan before a debateable penalty decision against Elliott Ward for handball, put Cardiff out of reach.
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It was Martin – who a year ago was out of favour at Peterborough – who found himself up against the multi-million pound talent that is Bellamy, and came away happy with his afternoon's work.
'I enjoyed playing against him, to be honest,' said Martin. 'I had some verbals in the first couple of minutes, which I knew was going to happen although it came a bit earlier than expected, but I enjoyed it and I think I did okay against him to be honest, I did alright.
'I knew I'd be facing him and I knew it was going to be tough and you want to test yourself against the best. Last season he was one of the best in the Premier League, but I was happy I dealt with him.'
Martin says the Canaries can be proud of their efforts.
'I think the first 10 minutes, no doubt about it, has killed us, the way we started,' he said. 'You can't start like that, giving teams a two-goal lead, but I think after that we had them penned in their own half, for the majority of the half and we really thought there were goals for us.
'We have had some good chances, but it hasn't quite come off for us, but I think after Wes' goal we really believed. 'But the penalty he has given is so harsh – it just hit Wardy, he didn't know anything about it.
'The referee said it was a clear handball, but even after that we kept plugging away and we still had chances.
'It was always going to be a bit more open after that because we needed to chase the game, but we contained them well in the second half. We came in at half-time and we really had the belief that we could get something out of the game.'