Want-away Martin may be forced to play

The Football League Paper - - FRONT PAGE - By Sam El­liott

FUL­HAM are ready to go to war with ‘on strike’ Chris Martin and make him play against Brighton & Hove Al­bion on Bank Hol­i­day Mon­day.

The 28-year-old re­port­edly re­fused to board the team coach to Read­ing on Fri­day night in an at­tempt to push through a re­turn to Derby County.

Martin wants to cut short his sea­son­long loan from Pride Park and play for the Whites’ pro­mo­tion ri­vals in­stead – but boss Slav­isa Jokanovic has told him to for­get it.

Ful­ham are well within their rights to say no with FA laws stat­ing year-long loans can be can­celled only if both clubs and the player are all in agree­ment.

He could be thrust back into ac­tion at Craven Cot­tage in front of the club’s fu­ri­ous fans to­mor­row and Jokanovic said: “He will stay with us and he will re­spect the con­tract. I ex­pect Chris to be avail­able.”

FUL­HAM went into bat­tle with their for­ward Chris Martin on Fri­day night as the striker was told: For­get about re­turn­ing to Derby County – you will play for us.

The on-loan 28-year-old re­port­edly went on strike on the morn­ing of their ill-fated trip to Read­ing.

Martin, who com­mit­ted to turn­ing out for the west Lon­don­ers un­til the end of the sea­son, has helped trans­form Ful­ham into se­ri­ous Cham­pi­onship pro­mo­tion con­tenders.

The Scot­land in­ter­na­tional is said to be homesick and hasn’t set­tled in the cap­i­tal – but his con­duct has en­raged Craven Cot­tage chiefs and their usu­ally-mild man­ager af­ter in­form­ing them he wants to re­turn to Pride Park.


Ser­bian Slav­isa Jokanovic has bro­ken his pledge to not pub­li­cally crit­i­cise any of his play­ers by slam­ming the striker – and sup­port­ers face an anx­ious wait to dis­cover if a rec­on­cil­i­a­tion is on the cards. They host sec­ond place Brighton on Mon­day.

Jokanovic was fu­ri­ous af­ter Fri­day’s match with Read­ing, a game which was aban­doned at half-time due to fog – some­thing else which en­raged Ful­ham fans with the con­di­tions not as bad as other matches which played to a con­clu­sion that night. “We ex­pect Chris Martin to be avail­able to work to­mor­row,” the man­ager said. “He is a Ful­ham player un­til the end of the sea­son. “I am not send­ing Chris Martin back to Derby. He will stay with us and he will re­spect the con­tract. “We are not a train sta­tion – you can­not get out where you want. He is not go­ing to play for Derby.”

The Rams ended their in­ter­est in Mid­dles­brough striker Jor­dan Rhodes on Thurs­day – and may have been bank­ing on bring­ing their striker back to the east Mid­lands.


County boss Steve McClaren, 55, is said to be frus­trated that Martin was ever al­lowed to leave by the man he re­placed at the helm, Nigel Pear­son, and is keen to get him back. Rules, how­ever, state that all par­ties must be in agree­ment for a sea­son­long loan to be cut short. Derby could face an­other blow with New­cas­tle lead­ing the chase for Not­ting­ham For­est mid­fielder Henri Lans­bury. County were close to do­ing a deal with their bit­ter ri­vals for a player who is out of con­tract in the sum­mer but the Mag­pies are in pole po­si­tion with For­est un­will­ing to sell to their neigh­bours.

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Images

BOLT FROM THE BLUE: James Henry’s in­jury-time win­ner for Bolton sinks their League One ti­tle ri­vals Scun­thorpe United

HOMESICK: Chris Martin wants to re­turn to par­ent club Derby County. In­sets: Jor­dan Rhodes, left, and Henri Lans­bury

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