Russell Martin - Norwich City will not be intimidated by Newcastle Premier League test
Russell Martin insists there is no chance of the Canaries being intimidated at Newcastle in today's televised Premier League clash (4pm).
The Magpies' rebranded Sports Direct Arena, formerly known as St James' Park, is currently averaging 50,000 crowds with Alan Pardew's side aiming to clinch Europa League qualification over the final run-in. Martin believes City have proved already this campaign they can rise to the occasion on the biggest stages.
'I think to come up and be intimidated by it would be a bit of a waste, really. The boys have met every challenge head on,' he said. 'It's another big challenge, it's one of the best places in the country to go to. But I think we've shown all season we don't fear anyone, even when the big four have come down to our place or we've been up there, we've always given it a go. That's the trademark of our team, really. Whoever we go up against, we don't play for a draw. We don't play not to get beaten, we play to win the game. If we come up short, we know we gave it the best shot.
'I've only played up there once. It's probably one of the best places to play in the country. It's a great atmosphere, their fans are really passionate. It's well-documented they go mad for their football up there so it's one we look forward to. It's a great stadium, great pitch, great atmosphere and you just go up there and enjoy it – but you only enjoy it if you get a result.'
Martin is urging his team mates to draw plenty of confidence from City's 4-2 win in the corresponding fixture before Christmas.
'We did really well against them earlier in the season. They were on really good form when we played them but they had a couple of people missing,' he said. 'They're back to full strength now after the African Cup of Nations and injuries and suspensions, so it will be a really tough game.
'They're probably the team that has exceeded everyone's expectations this year. They've done better than most people would have envisaged so it's going to be a tough game, but we look forward to going up there and playing and we'll give it a good go.'
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Demba Ba grabbed a brace at Carrow Road and Martin knows City's defence will be tested again.
'I think he's had an outstanding season. He scored two against us, so I'm probably not the best person to ask but he's a really good player,' he said. 'They've got good players all over the pitch and they've signed the boy (Papiss) Cisse to play with him so it's going to be a real handful.
'If you stop him scoring you've got a really good chance of winning the game. They're extremely powerful, quick lads. Luckily I probably won't be playing centre-half, so it's up to the centre-halves to deal with that. As in every game we'll go into it with a plan and we'll look at the video and study them. The manager and Cully (Ian Culverhouse) will decide what we want to do and whatever we go with we'll give it a go.'
The Canaries' travelled north on the back of one point in their previous three Premier League outings, but Martin insists no-one inside the club will lose sight of the bigger picture.
'I don't think we read too much into it, to be honest,' he said. 'Stoke away is always a tough game. Manchester United at home, they're champions of England. And then Wigan are fighting for their lives, so you don't read too much into it. If we'd been playing terribly and not picking up results, you start probably having a look at things and questioning a few things, but we know the way we want to play. We'll stick true to those beliefs and principles and we'll start picking up results. It's not a problem. There's no crisis of confidence in here. The lads are not short of confidence the way they played (last) Sunday. They still want to play the ball. We've come back recharged a bit now and I hope we'll start picking up a few results.'