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RUSSELL MARTIN: IT'S THE RIGHT FINAL

18 May 2015

Captain looking forward to 'Boro test

RUSSELL Martin believes this season has served up the perfect Sky Bet Championship play-off final showdown.

The Canaries, who finished third in the final table, will compete with fourth-placed Middlesbrough at Wembley on May 25 for the right to play in next year’s Premier League.

The finals in both League One and League Two will also be contested by the two highest-ranked teams available, and Martin says the games are an accurate reflection of form over the length of the campaign.

“It just shows that over the course of the season, the league doesn’t lie,” City’s captain told reporters.

“Whoever it was going to be, we would have wanted to beat them to get to the Premier League, it’s as simple as that.

“Middlesbrough are a good side, they’re really organised and they’re hard to break down.  We’re disappointed with how we played up there but that was a long time ago now. We played relatively well at Carrow Road, but they got the result.

“Next week will be a totally different game, with the pressure that comes with it.”

The Scotland international, who on Monday was named in Gordon Strachan’s squad for their June matches against Qatar and the Republic of Ireland, skippered the Canaries to a memorable 3-1 victory over fierce rivals Ipswich Town at Carrow Road on Saturday, securing a 4-2 aggregate victory in the semi-final.

The result sparked a pitch invasion amid scenes of celebration at the end, but Martin was more reserved post-match knowing that Alex Neil’s team will ultimately be judged by the outcome at Wembley.

“The lads are enjoying it but no-one’s going crazy because there’s a big game next week, an even bigger one. If we do it next week, then you’ll see a bit of craziness from the lads I’m sure!” he added.

“I played at Wembley for Scotland against England, so I know what to expect and there are a few more who have played there.

“For us to bounce back how we have, when you look at the other teams to have come down and the teams who did before that, it’s a huge achievement to get to Wembley.

“It all counts for nothing, though, if go there and don’t win, so we’ve got to make sure we do it.”

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