Russell Martin wary of what lies in store for Norwich City
Russell Martin believes Premier League survival will be even tougher second time around.
The Norwich defender – who agreed a new three-year deal with the Canaries earlier this month – feels all three newly promoted clubs are capable of emulating the achievements of City, Swansea and Queens Park Rangers by bridging the Football League divide.
'There are no easy games at all,' said Martin. 'I think all three teams are coming up with good financial backing, and they are big clubs in terms of the size of support in their stadium. They are teams that have all been there, that's the difference. Us and QPR hadn't been there for a long while, and Swansea had never been in the Premier League at all. If anything it's going to be harder than last year for us, because teams will be out to get us after the good season we had.'
Martin knows the value of a positive start to the campaign and the Scottish international insists Chris Hughton's men can flourish at Fulham on the opening day of the new season.
'I really like Craven Cottage as a ground, I think it's a great pitch to play on, probably one of the best pitches we played on last year,' he said. 'They've got a decent side, and we gave a good account of ourselves in the second half there last season. Yes it's a tough start, but they are all tough in this league, so I'm looking forward to it.
'The atmosphere (with the away fans) at Wigan last year was amazing, especially in the second half when we were kicking towards them – they filled up the whole end. Wherever they go they always create a good atmosphere. We take a lot of fans away from home and it always makes it interesting. It definitely gives the players a boost; we always talk about it.
'We've got one of the best supports in the country, home and away, and it's really impressive when they come away in their numbers and make that long journey from Norfolk.'
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Martin admitted City's final day trip to Premier League champions Manchester City is as tough as it can get, but the 26-year-old is looking forward to the prospect of testing himself against the very best – particularly over the festive period.
'You couldn't ask for a harder game to finish with, away to Manchester City, the Premier League champions,' he told the club's official site.
'So hopefully we'll be in a similar position to last season where we won't need anything there. It's a great way to finish and hopefully it'll top off another great season for the club.
'I am really looking forward to our game against Chelsea on Boxing Day because it's always nice to be at home over Christmas, and then we're lucky enough to be playing another huge team three days later in Manchester City, so that will be a period to look forward to.'