MARTIN VOWS RAMS IN POLE
Rampant Derby will go on the attack
CHRIS MARTIN knows the best form of defence could well be attack this afternoon – and says he has already proven conclusively that he most certainly is a 20-goal a season frontman.
Former Derby boss Nigel Clough suggested the ex-Norwich player wasn’t an out-and-out goalscorer before he was axed in late September.
Since his departure, Martin hasn’t been able to stop hitting the net. His penalty on Thursday night drew County level, before his powerful drive cannoned off the crossbar and in off Tomasz Kuszczak’s back to make the Rams huge favourites to progress to Wembley. It’s 24 now and counting.
Martin says he hasn’t got a point to prove any longer – even to the Premier League after not making the grade with Norwich City.
Farmed out on loan, even having a stint with Luton Town as they were free-falling through the leagues, didn’t dampen his mood.
But if Derby can negotiate Albion tonight, the top scorer is one game away from a return – but he respects the job is only half done.
“We’ve done well to take a victory back, especially after going a goal behind,” said the 25-year-old.
“That’s what is good about this team, our ability to fight back like we did and get a very good win.
“We have been very good this season at home, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t carry that on.
“On a personal level I think I have shown I am a 20-goal a season striker. I know I have that in me but it’s not about proving things to anyone.
“Brighton now need to score but we can’t sit back and won’t be.We need to be positive and not just be defensive. Sometimes that plays into opposition hands, so we need to not forgot what has made this such a good season so far and play our normal game.
“I’ve not got too much sympathy for the Brighton keeper because I’m on the other team! I’ve hit it and it’s gone in somehow, sometimes you get that bit of luck – everyone will tell you that you need a slice of good fortune in the play-offs.”
And Martin says victory today will be even better than the thrashing they dished out to deadly rivals Nottingham Forest in March.
“It would eclipse that game,” he added. “It’s a bigger match for us that the 5-0 – there’s a place at Wembley at stake, not that the Forest game wasn’t a day anyone will ever forget.
“We’ve got a youthful side so there perhaps won’t be too many nerves. Not many have been in this position before so there won’t be a fear of failure.
“I don’t think it’s a case of having done the hard bit. Of course it’s great to go to Brighton and win but the tough part is still to come. We know every player has got to be at his maximum if we’re going to get into the final.”
Derby boss Steve McClaren was quick to pay tribute to Martin after another powerful performance on