Lift it Lee – Chris Hutchings issues challenge to in-form Lee Martin

HE’S in the form of his career – but now it’s time for Lee Martin to take his performances to a new level.

That’s the message from Ipswich Town assistant manager Chris Hutchings ahead of a tough trip to Hull City today.

Martin – who been transformed from a slightly one-dimensional winger into a terrorising advanced central midfielder in 2012 – has played a key part in the Blues’ recent revival of five wins from six.

However, teams are starting to wise up to the 25-year-old’s threat from deep and are increasingly giving him added attention.

And this afternoon could provide his toughest test yet, with Nick Barmby’s supremely organised Tigers – who have kept seven clean sheets in their last eight league matches – employing two defensive midfielders.

With Reading keeper Adam Federici pipping both Martin and Southampton striker Rickie Lambert to February’s ‘Championship Player of the Month’ award yesterday, Hutchings said: “Lee has done well – the challenge is to see if he can continue that now.

“People know he is in good form and they might start man-marking him to keep him quiet as they know he is one of our strengths. That is another development stage in his career.”

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Paul Jewell’s right-hand man continued: “We used a diamond formation at the start of this season and that meant it was not effective to have widemen at that particular time, but Lee has come into the side and done very well.

“We’ve found this role for him and he’s taken to it like a duck to water. Now he has got to embrace the fact that he is playing well and with confidence and energy.

“He is scoring and creating goals and every team needs that. His work rate is phenomenal off the ball and he is always one of the top workers in our team in terms of distance covered and sprints.

“The game is not always about when you have the ball, it’s about what you do off it too and people perhaps don’t think about that side of the game with Lee.”

– See today’s EADT for full match preview. For live match updates, follow @Stuart_Watson and @ChrisBramms on Twitter.