Martin: Keep­ing cool is key to derby

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Joshua Richards

IF you can keep your head when all about you are los­ing theirs then you can win an East Mid­lands derby, ac­cord­ing to Chris Martin.

There has been a red card in each of the last three en­coun­ters be­tween Not­ting­ham For­est and Derby at the City Ground and, in the last two, the side to fin­ish with ten men went down 1-0.

Richard Keogh was the guilty party last year, head­ing back early to the Derby dress­ing room, though he got his re­venge when he cap­tained his side to a 5-0 vic­tory in March.

And Martin, who played in both con­tests be­tween the great ri­vals last year, feels the team that best keep their emo­tions in check will come out on top.

“We’ve got to try and keep our cool, be­cause in a derby it’s easy for teams to get car­ried away with the oc­ca­sion and the at­mos­phere,” said the striker, who this week signed a new four-year con­tract.


“It’s go­ing to be a very tough game. They were top of the ta­ble be­fore the in­ter­na­tional break and go­ing very well.

“But we like to ex­press our­selves and that won’t change.We want to win ev­ery game. We’ve got a young, hun­gry team and we’ll stand up to them. It’s dif­fi­cult to know what’s go­ing to hap­pen, but we’ve pre­pared very well this week and done some good work.

“We can­not af­ford to think about last sea­son’s re­sult (5-0) on Sun­day, we’ve got to get it out of our heads.

“I’m sure the fans still re­mem­ber it, but For­est have new play­ers and a new man­ager and we need to for­get last sea­son too. I think it will be a tight game this time.”

Martin hit 25 goals last sea­son as Derby reached the Cham­pi­onship play-off fi­nal and has chipped in with four al­ready this term as they again find them­selves in the up­per ech­e­lon of the di­vi­sion.

The 25-year-old’s im­por­tance to the club was high­lighted by his new deal, be­com­ing the eighth player to com­mit his fu­ture in re­cent weeks fol­low­ing Craig Bryson and Will Hughes.

And Martin be­lieves the iPro Sta­dium is a great place to be at the mo­ment.

“My time here has gone well from a per­sonal point of view,” he said.“There were a few de­lays in get­ting the con­tract fi­nalised, but it was just a case of get­ting the time to sort out ne­go­ti­a­tions. It wasn’t be­cause I didn’t want to sign.

“I’m very pos­i­tive about the fu­ture here. We’ve sold over 20,000 sea­son tick­ets, we’ve got a great fol­low­ing and all the play­ers here are ea­ger for suc­cess.

“The coach­ing staff are ex­actly the same and it feels like ev­ery­one is re­ally pulling in the same di­rec­tion.”

Martin’s pop­u­lar­ity at Derby will sky­rocket this af­ter­noon should he hit the win­ning goal. And his bur­geon­ing rep­u­ta­tion as a feared front­man has not gone un­no­ticed on the in­ter­na­tional scene.

Gor­don Stra­chan handed Martin his first Scot­land cap in May’s 2-2 draw with Nige­ria at Craven Cot­tage and he was an un­used sub­sti­tute for the Tar­tan Army in Dort­mund last week­end, as they fell to a 2-1 de­feat against world cham­pi­ons Ger­many in the first match of their Euro­pean Cham­pi­onship qual­i­fy­ing cam­paign.


A change to qual­i­fi­ca­tion cri­te­ria, due to the tour­na­ment’s ex­pan­sion by UEFA chief Michel Pla­tini, has boosted Scot­land’s hopes of com­pet­ing at a ma­jor tour­na­ment fi­nals for the first time since the 1998 World Cup in France – also the set­ting for Euro 2016.

Martin, how­ever, is not al­low­ing him­self to dream of be­ing there with Scot­land, but does credit a for­mer in­ter­na­tional man­ager with his cur­rent feel­ings of love for the game.

Steve McClaren, un­cer­e­mo­ni­ously dis­missed as Eng­land man­ager in 2007, walked through the doors at Derby 12 months ago and im­me­di­ately be­gan re­ju­ve­nat­ing their for­tunes.

While need­ing to per­form a swift re­pair job at the club, the 53-year-old also had work to do to re­store his own stand­ing within the game on th­ese shores.

Fol­low­ing his dis­missal as Eng­land boss for fail­ing to guide the team to Euro 2008 qual­i­fi­ca­tion, McClaren sought chal­lenges abroad, be­fore tak­ing the reins at For­est in 2011.

Ten league games later he re­signed, yet Martin be­lieves you would be hard­pushed at Derby to find any­one doubt­ing his man­age­rial cre­den­tials.

“The man­ager has been bril­liant for all of the lads,” he added.“He’s given us the re­spon­si­bil­ity to go and ex­press our­selves. When he came here we were a young group that just needed some di­rec­tion and that’s ex­actly what he gave us – guid­ance, but re­spect as well.

“He’s try­ing to lead us to pro­mo­tion and we were prob­a­bly among the favourites in the sum­mer. For­est will have the same am­bi­tion, so I guess the dream is that we play this derby again next year in the Premier League.”

TUSSLE: Derby’s Chris Martin in ac­tion with Not­ting­ham For­est’s Danny Collins last sea­son

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