Premier League Norwich City have concluded their negotiations with the Rams for striker Chris Martin to remain in Derby until the end of the season, extending the 24-year old’s initial loan deal after impressing in black and white. The paperwork of the deal is set to be completed next week, ahead of Derby’s crunch Good Friday fixture against bottom of the table Bristol City at Pride Park – a game where Steve Davies is expected to make his return to his previous club as he looks to boost the Robins’ survival chances.
The loan extension comes as no surprise, with Rams boss Nigel Clough publicly saying that the clubs were in talks, even prior to Martin bagging his first Derby County goal in Saturday’s morale-boosting victory over play-off contenders Leicester City. In the game, the forward managed to net his first Derby goal – a superb cross from on-loan left-sided Watford player Craig Forsyth set the Canaries striker up for a perfect heading opportunity, of which he took and also took advantage of the Foxes’ static defending, which most definitely wasn’t reminiscent of a top six side’s defending. Martin had a fantastic game for Derby, in front of the Pride Park crowd and live TV audience, building his reputation with the club’s supporters.
In his games before last Saturday’s, he had the attributes of a very good striker – minus the deserved goal he eventually got in the latter game of his initial one month loan period. In the 1-1 draw at league leaders Cardiff City the Norwich academy graduate had a goal disallowed, which he described as a “‘phantom goal’ ruled out for offside when it shouldn’t have been”. In Rams colours, Martin has, so far, come across as a hard working striker, who also has the ability to create space and opportunities for players around him. He has great vision and awareness, which has become evident over the past month – long may it continue. There’s no doubt that he’ll be key if Nigel Clough’s side are to finish the season on a positive note, hopefully with more goals from the loanee.
The next question is really if Chris Martin will be at Pride Park beyond the conclusion of this season, which is a home game against FA Cup semi-finalists Millwall. His deal at Carrow Road is set to expire, however that deal does have the option of a further year. On his Norwich contract, Martin said “I don’t think Norwich will take up their option because, to be quite frank, I’ve not really been involved in the squad for the past couple of years, on and off. They’ve made their position very clear to me that I’m not really part of the plans. You never know in football, so I’ll wait and see how that goes.” Nigel Clough seemed keen on the prospect of the striker making a permanent move “We are looking at maybe beyond his loan, we’ll see”.