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Winning mentality is Derby County’s new weapon: Chris Martin

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: February 10, 2014

BACKING HIMSELF . . . Chris Martin says he is happy to take penalty kicks despite missing his last two, and also believes QPR will face a much-improved Derby County tonight after losing the reverse fixture 2-1 earlier in the season

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DERBY County top scorer Chris Martin says the Rams are a better team now than when they last faced Queen’s Park Rangers three months ago.

Steve McClaren’s side lost 2-1 to Rangers at the beginning of November.

Derby sat 11th at the time, but have since soared to fourth in the Championship where they have been for two months now.

They tackle Rangers again tonight – this time at the iPro Stadium – and Martin believes Derby are a different proposition.

They have collected 33 points from 15 games since they slipped to defeat at Loftus Road.

Martin believes returning from West London empty-handed that day was harsh on Derby.

“First half, they were the better side but we were the better side second half for long periods” he said.

“We went on a run of seven straight wins after that defeat and we are a different proposition now for QPR, especially at home.

“We have changed as a team since then, we are a better team than we were back then.

“I think the mentality of the team has changed.

“We have more of a winning mentality after going on that unbeaten run and we know there is something to be achieved from this season.

“We are just as hungry as we were back then, but we have got a bit more experience and know-how.”

Meanwhile, Martin says he is still willing and able to take Derby’s penalties, despite his recent failed attempts.

The Rams have failed to convert their last three spot kicks.

Martin saw his penalties saved in the victory over Doncaster Rovers and the draw at Huddersfield in December.

Craig Bryson then took on the responsibility from 12 yards, but his penalty in the 3-3 draw against Birmingham City was kept out by Darren Randolph.

Derby are now looking for the next penalty-taker and Martin says a number of the players are still confident of stepping up, himself included.

Asked if he was back in the frame, Martin said: “Possibly, yes.

“We are always practising them and we have got quite a few lads who are confident to step up.

“I know that sounds odd after you have missed three in a row, and personally I have missed two, but the lads are pretty confident.

“I would like to have taken the one on Saturday but after two misses I think it was fair for me to pass it on.

“I’m not sure how Bryso (Craig Bryson) is feeling about it and whether he wants to take the next one.

“Wardy (Jamie Ward) wants to get back on the penalties, Patrick Bamford does as well – he’s a goalscorer.

“Even Bucko (Jake Buxton) has thrown his name into the hat.

“As long as the next penalty goes in we are not bothered who takes it.”

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