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Martin keen to repay 'special' fans

Published 03/04/2014 | 16:27

Norwich club captain Russell Martin accepts the players owe their fans a performance
Norwich club captain Russell Martin accepts the players owe their fans a performance

Club captain Russell Martin hopes the Norwich players can further maintain their "special relationship" with Canaries' fans by beating West Brom and taking a step closer to Barclays Premier League survival.

Chris Hughton's side were stuffed 3-0 at Swansea last weekend in another woeful away display - a sixth successive defeat on the road, which saw the squad offer to refund the match tickets for the 899 travelling supporters, many of whom had made the 612-mile round trip from Norfolk.

The defeat left Norwich again looking over their shoulders at the relegation zone, some six points clear heading into the final half-dozen matches.

Scotland international Martin - who helped guide the Canaries back up to the top flight from League One under Paul Lambert - wants the team to now pay back the faith of the supporters with positive results.

"This club is a bit different to a few in this league, the relationship between fans and players is different, it is closer," said Martin, who signed from Peterborough in January 2010.

"There are not many clubs in the Premier League where after the game the fans can have access to the players, when we go to get our cars, we speak with the fans.

"When you are around the city, it is not the biggest (of places), so you are bumping into fans constantly.

"It is a special relationship which you do not often get in football at this level.

"Everyone who plays for the team lives in this city, it is not like at other clubs where you can travel and may be withdrawn from it.

"You live it everyday, even walking to the shops, the lads bump into fans and people express their opinion, sometimes you might not agree with it, but that is what makes football great.

"You just don't get that in many places, and we want to keep it like that.

"It does hurt the lads and, at the same time, when we are winning we enjoy the praise and the adulation, so we want that more than the other stuff."

Martin added: "We just want to emphasis how good the fans have been for us, they have backed us home and away in what has been an up-and-down season.

"The way we can repay their faith and support is by winning games to stay in this league, and hopefully by the end of the season that gesture will be irrelevant because we will be where we want to be.

"You can't let the pressure affect you. The inconsistent season has been frustrating, but it is up to us now to make sure we end it in a positive way.

"Hopefully, we can move on now and everyone gets behind us to make sure we get three points against West Brom."

Norwich will wait on the fitness of centre-back Joseph Yobo, who was ruled out of the Swansea game with a calf injury. Defender Michael Turner could come back into contention following his three-month lay-off with a hamstring problem.

Hughton, meanwhile, has welcomed the restorative justice process taken against a Norfolk man in his 40s who had posted an offensive comment on Facebook directed at the Norwich boss, the only black manager in the Premier League.

A public on-line apology has been issued and the offender will meet representatives of the Kick It Out campaign to undertake further education.

Hughton said: "This is something I was consulted about and myself, the club and the authorities have all worked together on very much.

"The outcome has seen a public apology, we have worked very closely with the Kick it Out campaign and we feel what has been determined is the right thing."

Press Association

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