Norwich City captain Russell Martin believes Saturday’s Premier League clash with West Brom could prove to be a crucial moment in their season.
A promising start to the Carrow Road outfit’s first year back in the top flight has threatened to unravel, with last weekend’s 6-2 thrashing at Newcastle United marking their first back-to-back defeats since winning promotion.
Norwich are now without a win in four and Martin knows that points picked up against the likes of West Brom could come to determine the success or failure of their campaign.
“They are the sort of games that, if I’m being honest, will define our season,” Martin is quoted as saying by the Eastern Daily Press. “It’s not going to be the games against the so-called top four or five, or whatever. It’s going to be how well we do against teams around us.
“At home… actually against all the teams around us apart from at Newcastle, we’ve done well.
“So yes, we need to make sure we bounce back.
“And against West Brom I think it will be the same as it was at Newcastle – they will soak up pressure and try to counter-attack, like most teams have done against us this year, especially at our place.
“They will sit back and make it difficult, and we have got to make sure we are not so vulnerable when we’re attacking as we were on Sunday.
“We need to make sure we get a result, it’s as simple as that.
“There’s no big crisis. We’ve been playing well up to the weekend, when we didn’t. Sometimes that happens.
“If we had won at Newcastle it would have been a case of moving on to Saturday. We lost, so we analysed it and moved on the same. We can’t get too high or low.
“It’s obvious how we were going to be feeling after the game, as professionals and with our pride. But we have to get over that quickly and, come Saturday, make sure we’re feeling better.”
Norwich triumphed 3-0 when the sides met in the League Cup last month but have won just three of the last nine league games between the sides, although those victories all came in the last five meetings.
Youssouf Mulumbu (foot) is unlikely to be ready to face his former club, while Ben Foster (knee) is Tony Pulis’ only confirmed absentee.
Key Opta stats:
– West Brom have netted just one goal in total in their last three Premier League games against Norwich.
– At Carrow Road, the hosts have lost four of their last five league clashes with West Brom (W1).
– Norwich have conceded more goals than any other side in the Premier League this season (20) and are one of just three clubs yet to keep a clean sheet (alongside Sunderland and Leicester).
– West Brom have kept a league-high 15 clean sheets in the Premier League since Tony Pulis’ first game in charge on January 10 2015.
– Saido Berahino has scored just four goals in 22 away appearances in the Premier League since the start of last season, compared to 13 goals in 23 home appearances.