Russell Martin - Keeping Grant Holt proves Norwich City are aiming high
Russell Martin believes Norwich City's determination to hang on to Grant Holt in the January transfer window was a clear signal the Canaries mean business in the Premier League.
Martin's former Peterborough team-mate Ryan Bennett and midfielder Jonny Howson joined the club last month, but it was the rebuttal delivered to Rangers following their deadline day bid for Holt that spoke volumes within the City dressing room.
'There was no uncertainty in our group that anyone would go at any point,' said Martin. 'When they put in a bid for Holty it was quite late on. It would take a lot of money to let him go from this club.
'When the manager came out and said that no one was going, we knew as players that no one would go. We're lucky the club has stayed strong, the manager has stayed strong and we've shown our ambition.
'It might have been easy to say 'Yes, we'll take some money for one of our players' but not at all. He's been massive for us. He's our captain, he's a big character on and off the pitch and it was a bonus to keep him.
'To be honest, I'm sure there are a few clubs looking at a few of our players because of how well everyone's done and that's the way football is.
'There will always be speculation but we've kept our group and it's a strong group and we've added two more who will definitely be of benefit to the club. We're in a stronger position now than we were a week ago, so it's brilliant stuff for the club.'
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Martin himself made a permanent January switch from London Road in 2010 and the defender feels both Bennett and Howson fit the Lambert template.
'It's worked up until now so I hope it will continue to work with two very good players,' he said. 'I know Benno a little bit from Peterborough. I was there a couple of months with him.
'He's a young player with a lot of potential, very comfortable on the ball, very composed for a defender and he will be a good signing.
'Jonny we played against a few times over the years and he's been one of the best players in the Championship for a couple of years so they're both really good signings, they fit the mould in what the gaffer has brought in up until now.
'Jonny unfortunately is injured at the minute, he'll be back in a few weeks, he's fitted seamlessly into the squad, he's a really nice lad and Benno's the same. He's quite quiet, unassuming and he'll fit in really well.
'I don't think in many other places you'll find the team spirit and togetherness that we've got in this squad. It's played a big part in the last few years and I hope it will continue to do so in staying in this league.'
Norwich's fellow promoted rivals QPR splashed the cash in the closing hours of the window on the likes of Djibril Cisse and Bobby Zamora, but Martin insists finance is not the deciding factor in Premier League survival.
'It helps having the money QPR have because they can go and get players who are proven in the Premier League,' he said.
'But what you have here that you probably haven't got at many other places is the desire and hunger to prove themselves at this level and players who have just needed a chance to do that and have worked their way through the leagues.
'Someone has taken a chance on them and they have proved themselves in the Championship and hopefully are now proving themselves in the Premier League.
'The gaffer's given everybody a chance here, so everyone wants to repay the manager.
'Teams with the money, players perhaps when they're on that much money look out for themselves a bit more.
But here it's about the squad and about the team doing well because ultimately the team has to do well for us to prove ourselves in the Premier League and we have to do well together to stay in it.'