Published: 13/03/2013 17:02

Derby County look to extend Martin loan deal

Written byDAVID BROOME

DEIH20130309A-014_C.JPG Picture: Ian Hodgkinson.Birmingham City V Derby County .Picture shows Chris Martin DEIH20130309A-014_C.JPG Picture: Ian Hodgkinson.Birmingham City V Derby County .Picture shows Chris Martin

DERBY County boss Nigel Clough is hoping to extend the loan of Chris Martin after the striker impressed in his first few games for the club.

The 24-year-old, borrowed from Premier League side Norwich City, has started the last three games for the Rams and added some much-needed quality and class up front, especially in the absence of the injured Jamie Ward.

Martin’s loan deal is due to expire after Saturday’s clash with Leicester City, but Clough revealed that they were speaking to the Canaries about keeping the forward for longer.

He has yet to find the net for his new club, although he did have what looked to be a legitimate goal ruled out for offside against Cardiff City last week.

And after also being denied by a series of fines saves from England goalkeeper Jack Butland last weekend, Martin admits he is eager to get off the mark.

He said: “I will keep working hard and that first goal will come.

“It could have been so different.

“I didn’t have too many opportunities at Watford, whilst against Palace I had a couple of half chances, which perhaps I could have done better with.

“Then at Cardiff, with the disallowed goal, I was very disappointed.

“At the time I asked the referee who was offside, because I knew I wasn’t, but I thought maybe Conor had run across the goalkeeper’s eye line and that might have been why they flagged.

“But the referee said it was me and since then we have looked back at the incident and it shows I was onside.

“When you are on a little bit of a drought those are the sort of decisions that don’t go your way, but I will keep working hard and that first goal will come.”

MEANWHILE, the Rams have seen their squad recognised at international level once again.

Defender Kieron Freeman has received a call-up for Wales under-21s, while Mark O’Brien has been placed on standby for the Republic of Ireland under-21s.

Earlier this week, Theo Robinson – currently out on loan to Huddersfield Town – was called up to the Jamaica squad for the second time.

Last week, Conor Sammon and Jeff Hendrick were named in the Republic of Ireland’s senior squad for their upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Sweden and Austria, while Valentin Gjokaj has once again been called up for Albania under-21s.

Full-back Freeman, 20, has been named in the Wales squad for their UEFA European Championship 2013 Under-21 Qualifier in Llanelli on Friday, March 22, kick-off 6pm against Moldova.

The former Nottingham Forest defender will not miss a Rams match as a result of his latest call-up, and will return to the squad in time for the home game against Bristol City on Friday, March 29.

O’Brien has been placed on stand-by for the forthcoming international against Portugal, which will take place in Dublin on Monday, March 25.

Like Freeman, he returned from a month out with a knee injury as an unused substitute in the defeat at Birmingham City last weekend.

For a full interview with defender Gjokaj, including his reaction to his international call-up, see tomorrow’s Burton Mail.

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