Russell Martin’s a hero at both ends as Norwich City’s confidence soars
Russell Martin knew it was almost a case of 'job done' when Craig Bellamy said he was 'fed up' of tracking him back all afternoon.
Even though he had nullified Cardiff's greatest attacking threat it still looked like not being enough to gain at least a share of the points.
But, luckily for Norwich, he still had the energy for one more foray into the opposition penalty area that wasn't tracked by anyone, including the former Canaries favourite.
The chance looked to have gone when Aaron Wilbraham miscued his shot but the ball ran into the path of Martin at the back post and he did the rest.
'It was a tight angle and I don't know how it's gone in, in the end,' he admitted. 'The lad has thrown his body at it and I thought I'm just going to drill it and luckily it has gone in the back of the net.
'I killed myself with the celebration. I ran off too quickly and I was knackered for the next couple of minutes.'
Canaries boss Paul Lambert pointed to the fact that Martin was more of an attacking influence throughout the 90 minutes than Bellamy – and the Norwich full back said he had particularly relished his duel with the Welshman.
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'I really enjoyed it. I've played against him twice now and I'm happy with how I've done.
'We all know what he has got going the other way but he said in the end that he was fed up of running back with me.
'We try and run over teams. The gaffer has got us really fit in pre-season and I think it shows in games as we always seem to finish strongly.'
Taking four points out of six from the visits of Queens Park Rangers and Cardiff has made even the most sceptical of Norwich fans believe that this could be their year.
The club's hesitant home form at the start of the season appears to be sorted and while there is still a long way to go in the campaign, Martin revealed there is a belief within the dressing room that they can beat anyone in the Championship.
'I think we probably should have had six points from those games (QPR and Cardiff) but we'll take four for sure.
'It keeps our momentum going. We've now got a couple of games against teams who are struggling so they are going to be totally different games.
'At home we fancy ourselves against anyone. We had a few performances earlier on in the season where we stuttered a little bit.
'We know what our job is and if we keep playing the way we are we will pick up more wins than defeats.
'The boys just can't wait for the next game at the minute. Training is really buoyant and it's a great club to be around at the minute.'
Martin's injury time strike, his fourth of the season, put him level with close pal Andrew Crofts in City's goalscoring charts – a fact he will be keen to remind the former Brighton man of at Colney.
'Crofty was giving me stick earlier that he had more goals but I think I'm level now.
'My job is obviously to defend first and foremost but the full backs play attacking in the formation that we have.
'We seem to be sharing the goals around quite equally this year. A few of the midfielders have got a few whereas last year 'the holy trinity' got most of them.'