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Top scorer Chris Martin returns to lead the line for goal-shy Derby County

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: March 11, 2014

Burnley v Derby County - Chris Martin red card

Burnley v Derby County - Chris Martin red card

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TOP scorer Chris Martin is available again for Derby County tonight.

The 18-goal striker is set to return to the team to face Bolton Wanderers at the iPro Stadium, kick-off 7.45pm, after he served a one-match suspension on Saturday

“We all know what an important player Chris Martin is for our group,” said first-team coach Paul Simpson.

“I thought Conor Sammon was excellent in the way he battled, and the way he chased and worked against Millwall.

“He was also a little unlucky not to get himself a goal in the first half.

“It is good to have a full quota to choose from. We are just missing the two long-term injuries, Paul Coutts and Shaun Barker.”

The defeat by Millwall is the only game Martin has missed this season.

“Chris has had a tremendous season for us and it will be good to get him back,” said Simpson. “Hopefully, he will come back refreshed.”

Head coach Steve McClaren must decide which two of his four wide forwards to select.

Simon Dawkins and Patrick Bamford started against Millwall before Jamie Ward and Johnny Russell came off the bench.

Experienced midfielder John Eustace could also be recalled after being left out of Saturday’s game.

Simpson says Derby must put themselves in a position to take advantage should the Championship’s top two slip up.

Second-placed Burnley are eight points ahead of the Rams while leaders Leicester City have a five-point lead over the Clarets.

“If we are going to be honest, automatic promotion is for Leicester and Burnley to throw away,” said Simpson.

“We have seen in all walks of sport what happens when you get to that really important part of a season, people can go under.

“It might be that one of those two go under and what we have to do is make sure we’re in the right position to pounce.

“But if we don’t win our games, it doesn’t matter what anybody else does, so we have to get back to winning ways.”

Derby are third but they have lost their last two matches against Burnley and Millwall.

The goals have also dried up, with just three in the last five games.

Simpson said the Rams have to keep their head and keep going.

“The base we have built everything on is the players sticking together and working hard,” he said.

“We said that to them in the dressing room after the Millwall game, that was the message to them.

“Yes, it was disappointing and not what we hoped for and expected but you have to deal with these things.

“We just have to keep working and keep going.

“It will turn again, and hopefully it will turn in the remaining part of the season and we can make it count.”

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