08:10 Saturday 18 January 2014

Chris Martin eyes net gain for goal-hungry Derby County

Written byCHRIS WATSON

STAR STRIKER . . . Chris Martin, who is Derby Countys leading goalscorer with 15 from 29 matches in all competitions this season, believes the goals will start to flow again STAR STRIKER . . . Chris Martin, who is Derby Countys leading goalscorer with 15 from 29 matches in all competitions this season, believes the goals will start to flow again

CHRIS Martin is confident Derby County will soon rediscover their free-scoring form.

The Rams are the top scorers in the Championship with 49 goals in their 25 fixtures to date.

Steve McClaren’s men netted 22 times during their nine-match unbeaten run at the back end of 2013.

Since the turn of the year, Derby have only found the net once in three outings, which have all ended in defeat.

A 1-0 home loss to Wigan Athletic on New Year’s Day was followed by a 2-0 FA Cup exit at the hands of Premier League giants Chelsea.

And last Friday night, fourth-placed Derby were beaten 4-1 at league leaders Leicester City.

“We’ve come up against some tough opposition in the past few games and not been able to create as many opportunities as we’ve been used to,” said striker Martin, who is the Rams’ top scorer this term with 15 goals in 29 appearances.

“That’s been a bit frustrating but I know, with the team we’ve got, I’ll get plenty more chances – if I’m selected.

“Hopefully, we can keep playing good football, like we have been doing, then I’m sure there will be plenty more chances and goals to be had.”

Martin believes that going up against the likes of Chelsea will only have a positive effect on him in the long-run.

“It was an enjoyable experience and I think I gave a good account of myself, as the team did,” said the former Norwich City front man.

“I think we could be proud of that. It was a big effort we put in and that perhaps didn’t help us for the Leicester game.

“But it was a positive experience and we’ll be looking to use that over the rest of the season.”

Derby will be hoping to put the Leicester loss behind them this weekend, when they take on fellow promotion-chasers Brighton & Hove Albion at the iPro Stadium.

“We were disappointed with the manner of the defeat at Leicester but it’s the first time for a long while that has been the case,” said Martin.

“We didn’t get going but, hopefully, it’s a bit of a blip and that’s out the way now.

“I think it will be just a blip. It’s just one game and it’s not happened to us before this season.

“Hopefully, it doesn’t happen again in the final 21 games.

“We had a discussion after the game and straightened a few things out.

“Hopefully, we can put right the things that went wrong against Brighton.”

Martin is keen look on the positive side following a chastening experience at the King Power Stadium.

“I think it can be a turning point, almost,” said the 25-year-old.

“We’ve been on a good run but now we will see how we react.

“It can go one of two ways but we’ll be looking at it positively.

“We’re a positive group and we all stick together. I think that’s been the main key to why we’ve done well.

“That will be key over the next week or so and how we react will be vital as well.”

Brighton are currently sixth in the table - in a play-off spot - and have lost only one out of eight in all competitions

They are unbeaten in four games, winning three by 1-0 scorelines, including last weekend’s home victory over Birmingham City.

“Brighton play good football, we all know that,” said Martin, who got both Derby goals in a 2-1 win over the Seagulls at the Amex Stadium in August.

“The manager (Oscar Garcia) seems to have settled down there after coming in at the start of the season.

“So we know it will be another tough game, as the Leicester game was.

“But we’re the home side and we’ll be looking to take the impetus and take the game to Brighton.

“How we start the game will be game and I’m sure we’ll all be raring to go.”

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