Chris Martin keen to kick-start Derby County career under Phillip Cocu

Chris Martin celebrates scoring for Derby.
Chris Martin celebrates scoring for Derby.

Derby County striker Chris Martin says he's raring to go and keen to establish himself once again at Pride Park.

Martin has spent the majority of the last three seasons out on loan at Norwich, Reading and then Hull City respectively despite having averaged roughly a goal every three games for the Rams since arriving in 2013.

But now, with a new head coach in place, 30-year-old Martin is keen to make his mark on the team once again having joined the squad for their pre-season training camp in Florida.

He told RamsTV: "I've been really excited. I was looking forward to it over the summer having not seen everyone for a little while and had my little trips away over the last few years, but I'm happy and excited for this pre-season and to see what it can hold for me.

"It's been good to be back among the lads and hearing about how the season was last year, and how the group was in terms of the feeling they had with the coaching staff and the fans. There was a real togetherness and bond, the like of which perhaps hasn't been seen for a while.

"So hopefully I can be part of that. There doesn't seem to be much of a hangover after a disappointing end to the season and I think everyone is really looking forward to this season."

Martin couldn't secure a place in the Rams playing squad under Frank Lampard and instead went on loan to Hull where he managed 30 appearances, scoring twice in what was a frustrating season on the pitch for him on a personal level.

He said: "I wasn't quite fit for the start of pre-season last year which I don't think helped my situation and it was my aim to get football in the Championship. Frank Lampard wanted to put his stamp in the squad and I think he had over 30 bodies to choose from which meant it was extremely difficult to keep everybody happy as you don't need that many players.

"So the direction he wanted to go in was understandable. I spoke to him about it and we went our separate ways and I managed to get a good move.

"I enjoyed Hull. It didn't go as we'd hoped on the pitch but off the pitch, and the group I was involved in, saw me make some good friends there. It was a kind of transition season for me in terms of getting back to 100 per cent fitness, and now I feel good and am hoping to make a statement this season if I can."

Having been a favourite amongst supporters during his time with Derby thus far, he's now hoping he can repay that faith should he force his way back into first team plans.

He said: "I hope the support of the fans continues. Whenever I've been around the stadium and training ground they've always had good things to say to me so hopefully that can continue and I can give something back.

"I'd hoped things would go differently when I signed the new contract a few years ago but these things happen. Changes of managers and different opinions play a part but I love playing for Derby County, I love the area as my family are growing up here, especially my daughter who was born in Derby, so it does feel like home for us and I'm hoping to stick around for a bit longer this time."

Martin says he's been impressed by new boss Phillip Cocu so far and believes the new regime could equal a fresh start for everyone in the squad, particularly those out of favour or on the fringes in recent months.

He said: "Everyone has a clean slate, as is often the case with new managers, and we'll be fighting tooth and nail to be in that team come the Huddersfield game on August 5. It's great to have that competitiveness and knowing the lads here and the group we've got, I don't think that will spill over and there be animosity in the group. It'll just be healthy competition and we want to see each other and the club do well.

"Phillip Cocu is very calm and relaxed and it will be very interesting to see in which direction he wants to the team and I think everyone is looking forward to the challenge.

"He's slowly getting his way around the group and hopefully I'll get to chat to him properly before long. We've had discussions with the various coaches and it's trying to understand their opinions and vision going forward. The chairman has said he sees it as being similar to what was put in place before so it should make the transition that little bit easier for everyone."