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24 March 2015

Russell Martin's Captain Blog, with Fosters Solicitors

Russell Martin’s Captain’s Blog is brought to you by Norwich City’s legal partner, Fosters Solicitors

The Championship is the tightest it has been for years - if not ever - and for most teams, this adds extra significance and importance to every game at this stage of the season.

This is what made the Nottingham Forest game such a big one for us. If we had failed to win the match we could have made it really hard for ourselves to get into the automatic promotion places.

The squad was well aware of this and put in an excellent team performance that deserved all three points.

Jonny Howson got a goal to celebrate his 100th game in a Canaries shirt. Jonny has been excellent ever since he walked in the door from Leeds and has popped up with some vital goals for us. His one on the stroke of half time relaxed everyone and set us on our way.

Wes played a lovely pass into Jonny for him to score and was superb on the day. It was one of his best displays for us in my time here and that must mean it was good as there has been a lot of excellent ones!

Results elsewhere went well for us and going into the break on the back of a win and a good performance feels great and gives everyone a spring in their step and confidence for the games ahead.

It’s taken a huge effort and a lot of hard work since the gaffer has come in to get to this point and the fact we are now only three points off the top of the league and two points from second place with seven games to go shows the progress we have made.

The fact that the league is so tight certainly makes it interesting for people looking in on it.

There is very little between the top six teams and as I have mentioned before, I believe the teams that have the strongest mindset and who can cope with the expectation and matchday pressure better than others will be the ones that get promoted.

A player with a positive mindset crosses the white line expecting to perform to the best of his ability and if all the squad have the same thinking then the resulting team performance will exceed the performance of the sum of its parts.

I think this is where we have a real edge over other teams. We are positive in our approach and go out expecting to put in a good performance and win. Every player knows what is required for each game.

We have a lot of belief and experience in the squad: players who have been in this situation before, and players who have experience in the Premier League and are desperate to get back there and know what it takes. We have to make sure we use this and concentrate on what we can affect and that is preparing as well as possible and trying to win football matches.

I’m writing this from my hotel room in Scotland where me and Whitts are on international duty this week. We have two games: on Wednesday a friendly against Northern Ireland and on Sunday a European Championship qualifier against Gibraltar.

Wednesdayld see us up against Kyle Lafferty. It is always interesting coming up against a team-mate as you know each other’s games so well from training every day together. The dressing room at Colney has certainly been a bit quieter since Kyle went to Turkey on loan and it’ll be good to see the big man, however I hope he doesn’t enjoy his return to Scotland too much!

Sunday’s game is a chance for us to build on the good start we have made to our qualification group and to make sure we set ourselves up well for a big game in the summer against the Republic of Ireland.

I hope you all enjoy the final part of the season.

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