Martin ready to silence the critics

FLYING winger Lee Martin is ready to finally prove himself to Ipswich Town fans after revealing Roy Keane’s cold shoulder left his confidence in a fragile state.

The 24-year-old is the first to admit he hasn’t justified his �1.5m price tag to the Portman Road faithful yet following a fragmented two seasons in Suffolk.

Rejuvenated under new boss Paul Jewell this summer though he followed up an eye-catching pre-season with his first competitive goal in nearly two years during the 3-0 opening day rout at Bristol City last weekend.

Speaking ahead of today’s visit of Hull City, he said: “Have I shown Ipswich fans what I can do yet? Of course not, but there’s things that go on in and around the club that people won’t see.

“As a player, when you’ve been in obscurity, it’s hard to get your confidence back up when you’re playing cameo roles and under pressure to prove yourself.”

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The former Manchester United trainee, who spent much of last season on loan at League One side Charlton Athletic, continued: “You’d like to say ‘yeah, I’m really strong mentally and all that stuff’, but I’ll admit there were times when I came home and maybe did start doubting my ability a little bit.

“Wingers particularly thrive on confidence and the gaffer (Jewell) has now given me the best opportunity I could ask for. He encourages me to express myself.

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“I’ve come back with a real hunger and hopefully it’s now onwards and upwards.”

He added: “I think the players that were there under the Keane regime were a little bit on edge. I wasn’t there for much of it, but when I came back from Charlton the lads did seem a little bit down.

“The gaffer (Jewell) has done brilliant though, he’s turned it back around and the lads are really pulling together.”

– For packed match previews, see today’s EADT and Evening Star.

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