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Chris Martin sets sights even higher after matching 18-year Derby County record

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: April 10, 2014

DELS20140222D-016_C.JPG Picture: Lucy Shaw Derby County v AFC Bournemouth 1-0 Picture shows Chris Martin celebrating after scoring a goal for Derby

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CHRIS Martin has become the first Derby County player to score 20 goals in a season for 18 years – but the striker is not planning to stop there.

Martin equalled the feat achieved by Dean Sturridge in 1995-96 in the Rams’ 3-1 win at Blackpool on Tuesday night.

And with five games of the Championship campaign to go the 25-year-old frontman is hungry for more.

“I’ve got there, finally,” said the former Norwich City hitman.

“I would have liked to have got there a bit sooner, if I’m being greedy, as all strikers are.

“But I’m delighted to get there.

“Now my focus is getting to 21, hopefully on Saturday.

“I want to keep going and get more. I’m not going to rest and settle for 20.

“I want to get more – and a few more important ones as well, because the way the season is shaping up, we might need a few.

“As a striker, you do set yourself targets and you sometimes have to adjust those as you get to certain landmarks.

“I’ve got a target in mind that I want to get to and, hopefully, I’ll beat that as well – but we’ll wait and see.

“We’ve got five games left and a possible three more after that, so you never know.”

When Sturridge reached the landmark, the Rams went on to be promoted to the top flight.

“Hopefully, that’s a good omen for us,” said Martin. “I was a little bit surprised it has been so long since someone scored 20 goals for Derby.

“I got told a few months ago and I was surprised a club like this hadn’t had a few more in that time.

“They’ve had good seasons along the way and a few people got pretty close.

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“I’m told Steve Howard got to 19 when the team were last promoted (in 2006-07).

“But as long as you’re scoring the goals and winning the games, it doesn’t really matter who is getting them.”

Midfielder Craig Bryson is only four goals away from joining Martin in his elite club, having taken his tally to 16 at Blackpool.

“He won’t go away, will he?” joked Martin.

“We’ve had this running battle through the season and I think we’ve spurred each other on.

“He’s doing very well and it’s phenomenal for a midfielder to get that many goals.

“We work very well together – we’re on the same wavelength.

“He runs off me, I run off him and we create for each other.

“I’d be delighted to see him get to 20 with me, as long as I stay just one or two in front of him!”

At Blackpool, Derby found themselves behind after only 15 seconds when David Goodwillie sent a dipping 25-yarder over Lee Grant.

But the Rams’ response was immediate, as Martin turned in Johnny Russell’s cross, with not even two minutes on the clock.

“It was three or four yards out and was a typical striker’s goal,” he said.

“I don’t score enough of them, to be honest, and I want to get more.

“It kind of bobbled up off my ankle and squirmed in underneath the keeper.

“I’ll have to see it again because I’m not quite 100 per cent sure what happened.

“It’s great to be getting in those positions and, hopefully, I can keep shanking them in!”

Patrick Bamford struck between Martin and Bryson’s efforts as the Rams took full control.

“It was a strange one, going behind so quickly,” said Martin.

“But we showed our character and resilience, especially after a poor game at Middlesbrough, when we weren’t ourselves for whatever reason.

“We wanted a reaction and I think you could see by the look in people’s eyes that we weren’t going to lose this one.

“In the end, I thought we thoroughly deserved it.

“It wasn’t an ideal start but I don’t think it really affected the game, to be perfectly honest.

“I think the performance was going to be there whether they scored or not.”

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