City striker Chrissy Martin will – by now – have discovered whether Canary chief Paul Lambert has handed him his third, straight Premiership start as the Canaries gear up for tomorrow’s lunchtime Sky clash with West Bromwich Albion.
The 22-year-old started against both Stoke City and Chelsea, but knows that Steve Morison’s international success for Wales and Lambert’s own willingness to run certain horses for certain courses could find him relegated back to the bench for the visit of the Baggies.
And with Simeon Jackson on goal-scoring form for Canada and James Vaughan edging ever closer to first team involvement, so the Beccles-bred frontman is taking nothing for granted – even if he is having the time of his young life in the top flight of English football.
“I’m enjoying it immensely,” Martin told reporters at Colney yesterday, speaking before Lambert revealed his latest ream thinking to the squad.
“I was slightly surprised to start against Stoke, but I felt I did well enough there – and, obviously, played against Chelsea as well. So I’ve been buzzing with playing.”
Martin was the first to admit, however, that simply making up the numbers and getting games is not what this season is about – the aim is to make a mark on the top flight; to show the world that Norwich are Premier League by right; above all, to grind out a first win against the pointless Baggies in front of the Sky cameras tomorrow.
“We don’t just want to be playing games in this league – we want to be winning games,” said Martin, who alongside Declan Rudd could be the only home-grown talent on display tomorrow.
“We’ve been slightly disappointed with the start that we’ve had – we feel that we could have got a few more points on the board, but we’re all ready and raring to go for Sunday.”
Just how good that home point against Stoke might come to prove was amply demonstrated this evening when the Potters slipped into fifth spot in the fledgling Premiership table with that 1-0 home win over an improving Liverpool.
With the two Manchester clubs setting the pace at the top, the next three games offer the Canaries a real chance to get properly acclimatised to the top flight before they head to Old Trafford and the opportunity to halt the United bandwagon in its tracks.
It is, admitted Martin, an altogether different beast to the Championship.
“It’s kind of hard to put your finger on what the difference is,” he admitted. But difference there certainly is.
“Everyone is more athletic; it’s played at a quicker tempo – but, funnily enough, you also get more time on the ball at times.
“Teams tend to sit off you – especially in your third and the middle third of the pitch. It’s a lot tougher, but we’re enjoying it at the moment and we’re giving it a good go.”
In fairness to Martin, he has always enjoyed a decent first touch; has an excellent finish and a smart, footballing brain. Half a yard of extra pace and some might suggest he wouldn’t now be at Norwich – he would have been snapped up by a higher flight club when Norwich were languishing in League One.
He is also fairly robust and able to mix the physical with the football. He deserves his chance to make a name for himself at this level. If nothing else, it ensures that the likes of a Morison can’t take anything for granted.
As for the Baggies, Martin was setting little store by their current lowly position in the table.
“Everyone knows that they have got quality in the team,” he said. “We have to be wary of those players – and their team in general. But I think we feel that we’ve got enough in our team to go out there and win the game.
“But I was surprised that they have lost all three games, to be honest. And I’m sure that they will be wanting to put that right against us on Sunday.”
Getting those first three points on the board can, of course, make the world of difference. Somewhere in the next three games – West Brom (h), Bolton (a) and Sunderland (h) – you’d like to think that the break will come. It will happen.
“We’ve still gained confidence from our performances so far,” Martin stressed. “And I think that we’ve performed well enough to win some games; it’s maybe just a lack of concentration that we haven’t gone on to get all three points. But, hopefully, that’s close.”
A little break luck-wise wouldn’t go amiss, either.
“It seems everyone is forever wanting to talk about the refereeing decisions,” said Martin, with the Canaries hopes of a place in Europe via the ‘Fair Play’ League being hit by two red cards in their opening three games.
“We don’t want to concentrate on that,” he said. “We want to concentrate on what we can effect – us, the players. And, hopefully, that will sort itself out.”