MK Dons boss admits his Norwich past ‘adds a little bit’ to Ipswich clash

MK Dons boss Russell Martin played under the management of Paul Lambert at Norwich City. Photos: Arc

MK Dons boss Russell Martin played under the management of Paul Lambert at Norwich City. Photos: Archant/PA - Credit: Archant

MK Dons manager Russell Martin admits his Norwich City past ‘adds a little bit’ to Saturday’s home clash with Ipswich Town.

MK Dons manager Russell Martin. Photo: PA

MK Dons manager Russell Martin. Photo: PA - Credit: PA

Martin played under Paul Lambert at Wycombe and was re-united with the Scot at Carrow Road. He went on to make more than 300 appearances for the Canaries, playing a key role in their double promotion from League One to the Premier League.

The 34-year-old, who took charge of MK Dons in November last year, was never on the losing side in seven East Anglian derbies and now faces the Blues for the first time as a manager.

“I worked with the manager (Lambert) for six years as a player, so that adds a little bit – I’d be lying if I said it didn’t,” he said in his pre-match press conference for MK Don’s official website.

“The fact that I played a long time for a club that Ipswich don’t think very fondly of, and that I had a really good record against, probably adds a little bit too.

Paul Lambert signed Russell Martin for Norwich City in 2009. Photo: Steve Adams

Paul Lambert signed Russell Martin for Norwich City in 2009. Photo: Steve Adams - Credit: Copyright Archant Norfolk Ltd

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“Obviously I have a huge amount of respect for their manager and what he did for me and my career, the faith he showed in me as a player a long time ago.

“So I look forward to seeing him but it’s a game that I want to win, a game that we want to win, a game we’ve worked extremely hard on this week and it’s a game that the players should look forward to.”

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Ipswich go into the game top of the early League One table after 2-0 wins against Wigan, Bristol Rovers and Rochdale, while MK Dons are 22nd after a 1-1 draw at Doncaster was followed up by defeats to Lincoln (2-1 at home) and Crewe (2-0 away).

“There’s always a hangover after relegation and I think it took a while for Paul to work out who he could rely on, what he wanted in the squad and the way he wanted to go about it,” said Martin. “They seem to have really worked that out now and found a style that really suits them and the players that they think can go and do it.

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“If you’ve got a really clear vision for the team, a really clear way of doing things, that makes it a lot easier. I think they’ve got that and I know that we’ve got that for sure.”

He added: “This month is an opportunity to see where we’re at with some tough fixtures.

“Ipswich have started the season really well, but our record against the top teams in the league – Oxford, Portsmouth, Rotherham and Coventry – was really good last season.

“I know exactly where we want to go and how we’re going to get there, I just don’t know how long it’s going to take. But all the signs I see in training and in the performances, before the Crewe one, tells me we’ll get there and that this season will be an improvement on last.

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“There’s been a big turnover of players and we’re still bedding in, but I’ve seen enough to be really positive. In most of the games we’ve had the most possession, most shots on target and most touches in the opposition box. And only three teams have given away more shots on target than we have.

“If we perform as well as I know we can on Saturday then we have a really good chance of getting the three points.”

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