Ram­pant Derby will go on the at­tack

The Football League Paper - - PROFILE ON - By Sam El­liott

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

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