Russell Martin wants home comfort
David CuffleyDefender Russell Martin has tasted defeat for the first time as a Norwich City player - and is in no hurry to experience it again. The Canaries' run of eight straight wins, and 16 League One games unbeaten, ended with Saturday's 2-1 reverse at Millwall.David Cuffley
Defender Russell Martin has tasted defeat for the first time as a Norwich City player - and is in no hurry to experience it again.
The Canaries' run of eight straight wins, and 16 League One games unbeaten, ended with Saturday's 2-1 reverse at Millwall.
Apart from a penalty shoot-out exit in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy at Southampton, when the game itself ended as a draw, it is the first time full-back Martin has been on the losing side since joining City in November.
But with the leaders' next match at Brighton, his home town and his first club, Martin has an additional incentive to help them back to winning ways.
He said: 'I started at Brighton when I was young, so I'm looking forward to going back and playing there.
'I was born there, all my family still live down there, so they'll all be coming to the game. I went to school there, moved away at 17, so I'm really looking forward to it.'
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City won on their two previous visits to the Withdean Stadium, but with Brighton beaten just once in their last six matches, it promises to be another testing afternoon in unusual surroundings.
Said Martin: 'It's an athletics stadium. It's where we used to have my school sports day. The ground's not the best, the pitch is quite tight and it will be similar to this pitch today, quite heavy, depending on the weather. They've been on an OK run in the league and Gus Poyet's picked them up a little bit. I know a few of their players, they're good players, so it's going to be a tough game.'
City have not lost two successive league games this season and 24-year-old Martin believes the defeat at The New Den will sting them to a response.
He said: 'It's a real disappointment but we need to move on. It's one game. We've been on an unbelievable run that not many teams will match, especially in this league. So we've got to be proud of that.
'But this is treated the same as any win we've had. We start again Monday, working towards another game and we have to pick ourselves up and go again next week.
'Of course it hurts. You don't want the run to end - and especially when we don't feel we played badly. We don't feel we've come away deserving to lose the game. They caught us cold with both goals, really, which is disappointing because we've been strong from set pieces this season. There was not much in it at all. I think a draw might have been a fairer result, but we lost the game.
'To get promoted you can't start losing games back to back. Next week we need to go again and pick up some points.'
Striker Chris Martin gave City a fourth-minute lead with a superb free-kick but goals from Tony Craig and substitute Neil Harris ended their impressive run.
'You couldn't ask for a better start to silence the crowd,' said Russell Martin. 'Once they get the crowd behind them, Millwall are a force. And I think that's why a lot of teams come here and get beaten. They're a good team at home, the fans really get behind them.
'We silenced them and we could have done with staying ahead a little bit longer, coming in at half-time at 1-0 maybe, but we didn't really feel threatened as a back four, even in the second half. The first goal did take a big deflection. Fraser (Forster) was going to save it but Michael Nelson tried to block it and unfortunately the ball had too much pace on it and it went in. It's one of those things, but it caught us cold, really.'
The second goal came from a short corner routine.
'I think the right-winger ran all the way from the far right and got the ball off him. We need to be out quicker, there's no doubt about that, we're disappointed to concede a goal in that manner. We need to close down quicker and we need to make sure we're picking up people in the box.'
Martin said it was impossible to tell whether skipper Grant Holt's absence - he was completing a three-match ban - was a factor in the defeat.
He said: 'We've won two games out of three (without Holt). Any other team would probably be happy with that, but because of the expectation we put on ourselves and the run we were going on, we wanted to win all three and expected to do that.'