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31 December 2016

Skipper on the 'baby-steps' of rebuilding City's season

RUSSELL Martin says everybody connected to Norwich City feels the same way about how a difficult 2016 has gone after the year drew to a close on Saturday evening.

Reflecting on a 12 months which includes relegation from the Barclays Premier League and a prolonged stutter in the Sky Bet Championship, he also outlined the collective desire for improved fortunes in 2017.

Out of the first team in recent weeks, Martin returned for New Year's Eve's game away to Brentford, forming part of a new-look three-man central defence which earned Alex Neil's side a deserved point following Robbie Brady's harsh red card.

Speaking in the wake of the 0-0 draw at Griffin Park, the 30-year-old said: "I've been as frustrated as anyone.

"It's hard to affect things when you're not playing, it's hard to watch when the team's not doing well. They're my friends in that dressing room, I want them to do well.

"There's no shying away from the fact we should be doing better than we are. It's hurting the lads in there. People care and we understand the fans' frustrations.

"They travelled down in good numbers and clapped us off. What they want to see is effort, commitment and desire, which we showed tonight.

"It's down to us to slowly get them back on-side."

With a swift turnaround for the Canaries' next game, a home meeting with Derby County on Monday, Martin said mental strength is now required to start resurrecting City's 2016-17 campaign.

"We need to keep grinding things out because it's going to take small steps to get to where we want to be," he explained.

"It's a clean sheet away from home at a tough place to come. For me, we showed togetherness and resilience, especially being down to ten men.

"We had the better chances but this game is gone and we'll take the positives into Monday. I just hope people turn up and get behind us.

"There needs to be a togetherness at the football club. We've maybe drifted apart recently because of the position we've been in but there's 20 odd games ago.

"We can still turn it around and have a good season but we need everyone. We're desperate to put it right and see Monday as an opportunity."

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