City defender Russell Martin has admitted that Tottenham superstar Gareth Bale will be “hard to stop” when high-flying Spurs visit Carrow Road this evening.
The North Londoners have been in scintillating form this season and if they win their two games in hand – the first being tonight’s contest in Norfolk – they will be only four points behind the two Manchester clubs that share top spot.
And while Bale is quite clearly a major threat on the left flank this evening, Martin also knows that Spurs are far from a one-man show. Luka Modric, Scott Parker, Rafael van der Vaart…. you get the picture.
“It will be hard to stop Bale as he’s on fire, as are the whole team,” the likeable defender told the club’s official website.
“We can’t just concentrate on one player as they have people all over the pitch who can change the game in an instant but we’re looking forward to it. We know it’ll be tough but we’ve worked hard to get here and we’ll enjoy it – especially against the top teams.”
With loan star Kyle Naughton suspended for tonight’s Carrow Road clash – a match he would have missed anyway against his parent club – Martin could find himself in a more familiar right-back role, with Leon Barnett possibly coming into the centre.
And the former Peterborough United man would have no problem with returning to his old job, even if it means going head-to-head with Bale. After all, the alternative of a match-up against Emmanuel Adebayor is hardly an easy gig.
“The way Bale is playing at the minute, he’s going to be hard to stop,” Martin continued. “But if I get put out there for one game, it’s no problem. As long as I’m playing, I don’t mind whether it’s at right-back or centre-half.
“I’m really enjoying playing centre-half and I’d like to stay there but if I have to play at right-back for one game that’s fine – I’ve been there for a long part of my career.”
Even though Tottenham are in red-hot form – with only one defeat in their last 12 – City are unbeaten in three and not doing too badly either. And Martin is confident that they can keep their mini-run going over the festive period, with Fulham next up at home after Harry Redknapp’s Spurs.
“When those runs come about you’ve got to enjoy it but it can change very
quickly – it’s such a tough league.
“We’ve got some tough games over Christmas and going into January but if we keep playing the way we have been, hopefully we’ll be alright. It’s nice to get back home after playing two away games and with the crowd behind us, I fancy us to pick up some points.”
However, even the most ardent Canary follower will know that City need to put in the performance of their lives to get any reward from tonight’s clash. And midfielder Andrew Crofts knows all about Spurs’ – and Bale’s – capabilities.
“They are a world class side and you can see why they’re up there,” Crofts told Canaries Player.
“They’ve got some great players and they play real, attacking football – it’s
pleasing on the eye. But we won’t fear them and we’ll do our best to get something out of the game.
“Bale is an unbelievable talent and is probably one of the best players in the world at the moment. He’s still young as well and is only going to get better. I play with him for Wales a lot so I know what he’s about and it’ll be great to play against him this time.”