Russell Martin - Patience needed to complete job
Norwich defender Russell Martin warns patience could be the key against Derby in today's latest Championship promotion test at Carrow Road (3pm).
The Canaries embarrassed Ipswich 5-1 ahead of an Easter weekend of football, which saw them emerge still in second spot – a point clear of Cardiff after the Bluebirds were pegged back twice by champions-elect QPR.
Derby need a point to be mathematically safe after defeat to play-off chasing Burnley – and Martin is wary of a Rams' outfit who were full value for a goal less draw at QPR only last week.
'I watched them on the telly against QPR the other night and they defended really well,' he said. 'It's another tough one. They'll come and make it hard for us, that's for sure.
'They might not set their stall out to come and win the game, but that is their prerogative. I think they are more or less safe but the manager I'm sure will insist on getting a few more points just to make certain.
'They have got experienced players in there like Robbie Savage who just sits and does an effective job for them, so we need to get back on the training ground and I'm sure the gaffer will have us fit and focused. Monday is going to be a totally different proposition so we'll have to work out how to break them down and hopefully do it.'
City inflicted a first Pride Park league defeat of the season on Derby in December, but on home soil since the turn of the year have been frustrated by two other strugglers, Doncaster and Preston.
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'It was a really tough game at their place. They were right up there and bang on it,' said Martin. 'They are a good side who have had a lot of injuries and stuff like that. The manager is probably in a transitional period and bringing in his own players. Listen, every game in this league is tough. You look at some of our home games – the likes of Doncaster and Preston. They work ever so hard and no one gives you an easy ride. If we play like we did (against Ipswich) then I fancy us against anyone.'
Martin notched in City's 5-1 rout at Portman Road but feels the two remaining home games against Derby and Coventry could hold the key to their promotion prospects.
'We said all along, if you win your home games and pick up the odd point or win away then you'll be there or thereabouts,' he said. 'That is what the gaffer has always said to us. As long as we win the two remaining home games and maybe get something at Portsmouth I think we have got a great chance.
'We're professionals so we have to focus back on the next game. The fans can enjoy the Ipswich result for many years to come. For us, it's about one game at a time. We've got that one out of the way. It's the oldest clich� in the book but unfortunately with the position we are in that is the case.'
Paul Lambert's men will be promoted to the Premier League if they win their last three games to clinch consecutive promotions – and cap a remarkable rise for the right-back, who was released by Brighton as a teenager.
'It's every player's dream,' he said. 'Some of the boys may have been there before but not for as long as they would like so they have their own drive and ambition. For me, as a young boy growing up and watching it, it's the place to play. It's the best place to play in Europe.
'When you work for something you enjoy it that little bit more. I went and played non-league for a year or two and men's football probably helped me. I was at college and cleaning shops and pubs with my uncle in the mornings.
'It was tough but I had total faith, and so did my Dad. He told me it comes later for some than others.
'I wasn't even a right-back until three seasons ago. Crofty (Andrew Crofts) comes from a similar background. We talk about it all the time and how much we appreciate what we've got now.'