CHRIS Martin is hoping to continue his Pride Park goalscoring form on Friday, but this time for the home team, writes DAVID BROOME.
The new Derby County striker, signed on loan from Norwich City last week, made his debut in Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at Watford, and could be in line for his first start when his former club Crystal Palace visit Pride Park for a 7.45pm kick-off.
And having scored in every game he has played against the Rams for the Canaries and the Eagles – including two goals at Pride Park – Martin is keen to “return the favour”.
He said: “Pride Park a great stadium and I’ve managed to get on the scoresheet a couple of times, so hopefully that run can continue.
“I’m two in two there and if I manage to keep up that scoring ratio then I’ll be very happy.
“I’ll be hoping to try and return the favour I suppose.”
The 24-year-old admits he is playing for his future to an extent during the 28 days he will spend with Derby, as his contract is up at Carrow Road this summer and he does not expect to be offered a new deal.
He said: “I can’t afford to look too far ahead as I don’t know what my future will be.
“My contract is up this summer but they have an option on me, so my hands are tied.
“I’ll have to wait and see what Norwich want to do, but I’m obviously not part of the plans there.
“I’ve not been named in the 25-man squad for the second part of the season, so I don’t see why they would take up the option, because I don’t think I’m in the reckoning for the first team.
“I’m just looking forward to these 28 days at Derby, hoping I can stake a claim and show people what I am about.”
Palace, where Martin spent last season on loan, are flying high in the Championship this season, and have a number of eye-catching talents in their squad, including Wilfried Zaha, the latest product of an academy that has produced the likes of current Premier League players Victor Moses, Nathaniel Clyne, Ben Watson and Wayne Routledge.
But the striker believes that his new club have what it takes to clip the Eagles’ wings.
He said: “Palace are up next and they have been going very well this season.
“They are people that I know well and they have got some very good players and young talent down there.
“I played with (Wilfried) Zaha, Johnny Williams, Glenn Murray, and they’ve added (Yannick) Bolasie, who I think looks very good this year, very sharp.
“Murray up top is on absolute fire so they’ve got some options and players that we need to keep quiet, which will be difficult.
“I don’t think we’ll be too worried about the opposition, we’ll just go and play our own game, and I think if we put in a similar performance to today (against Watford), there’s no reason we can’t get a positive result.”
Zaha earned a big-money move to Manchester United in last month’s transfer window, before being immediately loaned back to Selhurst Park.
Martin said: “I think everyone knew, even when I was there, that he was being linked with a number of clubs.
“He is clearly a tremendous talent, and good luck to him.
“He’s got his move to Manchester United and hopefully he can push on from there.”
Martin’s Premier League dream may be over with Norwich, but he believes that Nigel Clough’s Derby have what it takes to push for that promised land themselves, possibly even this season.
He said: “It’s very difficult to be playing week in, week out in the Premier League but that would be ideal.
“I’ve not been able to do that with Norwich, and if it means moving down a step to go one step back up, I’d be totally fine with that.
“Derby have got all the foundations there and we’ve still got a chance of sneaking into the last play-off place this season.
“It’s a fantastic stadium, they’ve got a great fan base and a lot of history as well.
“I was lucky enough to be part of the Norwich squad that earned promotion to the Premiership, so if I can pass on what I know and a bit of experience to a lot of young lads who are coming through at Derby then I’ll be quite happy to do that.”