FIRST-TEAM coach Paul Simpson says Derby County striker Chris Martin is being battered from pillar to post in matches.
Simpson has praised the composure being shown by Martin, who is the focal point of Derby’s attacking play and top scorer on 21 goals.
Martin’s value to the team tends to see him singled out for close attention from defenders.
“Chris gets a lot of stick but credit to him, he just picks himself up and gets on with it,” said Simpson.
“He has a little chunter about it, a little moan, but I have to say he gets battered from pillar to post.
“He’s a real focal point of our attacks. Some of the football we are able to play is because of Chris Martin and this makes him a target.
“So many decisions have not gone his way although he has had some decisions he probably didn’t deserve, but since December he has been battered.”
Martin was unfortunate not to be awarded a penalty when he was barged over by Huddersfield Town goalkeeper Alex Smithies in the first half of Saturday’s 3-1 victory over the Terriers.
In the second half, Martin was involved in a confrontation with Huddersfield defender Anthony Gerrard.
Simpson was seen in the technical area shouting at Martin not to get involved after the two players went head to head.
“In all fairness to Chris he didn’t actually do anything wrong,” said Simpson.
“He did not in any way move aggressively, he just stood his ground, but you just worry when things like that happen.
“In effect, without being disrespectful, the game was over at that point and we just didn’t need anybody to get involved in anything.”
Martin’s penalty ended the game as a contest as Huddersfield had been reduced to nine men following the dismissals of defenders Joel Lynch and Peter Clarke.
Simpson is full of praise for Martin’s goal tally and his work for the team.
“That is 21 goals for him now, which is a great achievement,” said Simpson.
“If he can keep going and get four or five more between now and the end of the season he will definitely help us get to where we want to be.”
JAKE Buxton has been voted as the Derby County Supporters’ Club player of the year.
The former Burton Albion stopper been a rock at the heart of the Rams’ defence this season.
The central defender has featured in all 46 games and has started all but two.
All 17 branches of the supporters’ club voted and Buxton beat off strong competition from a number of team mates.
He was presented with the award by former Rams players Marc Edworthy and Tommy Johnson at the Supporters Club’s annual End of Season Dinner at the iPro Stadium, which was attended by head coach Steve McClaren and the Derby squad.
Buxton is enjoying his best season in a Rams shirt.
He signed on a free transfer from Albion in 2009 and was Nigel Clough’s second permanent signing as manager.
The 29-year-old has made 126 appearances and only midfielder Craig Bryson of the current squad has played more games for Derby.