The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Char­lie Tal­bot-Smith

RUS­SELL MARTIN’S in­flu­ence at the back has been a key fac­tor in Nor­wich’s about turn in form, says boss Alex Neil.

Af­ter a pre-sea­son plagued by back prob­lems, 30-year-old cen­tre-back Martin ap­peared only once in the open­ing matches of this cam­paign.

But, since the in­ter­na­tional break and ahead of this week­end, Martin had started ev­ery one of Nor­wich’s three wins on the bounce.

And Neil in­sists his value to the team is worth so much more than just clean sheets.

“I think one of Rus­sell’s big­gest strengths– and it’s quite unique nowa­days – is that he af­fects other play­ers. Bback in the day it used to be quite com­mon,” Neil said of his skip­per.

“The peo­ple around him, his right-back, his left cen­tre-back, his guys in front of him, he’s got a real de­ter­mi­na­tion to be suc­cess­ful and to win.

“I think you need that in your group be­cause it’s all fine and well nowa­days, as a player, to take care of that wee square bit you play in, but if you can have an in­flu­ence on peo­ple around you it can be as much of a strength as any­thing else.”

VI­TAL: Rus­sell Martin

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