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Reading brought Derby County striker Chris Martin in on deadline day on loan until the end of the season, but is it a good move for the Royals?
The 29-year-old Scottish international hasn’t started a game for the Rams since early December when they played Barnsley and is desperate for first-team football, something he wasn’t going to get at Derby given the signing of Cameron Jerome.
The former Norwich City player was on loan at Fulham last season, scoring 11 times for the London side and helping them into the playoffs.
It’s been quite a year for Martin too, who, this time last year, was the subject of some wrangling, as Derby were attempting to get him back from his Fulham loan. Steve McClaren denied it because of the lack of a recall clause in Martin’s contract.
Martin’s goals, but more to the point his all-round forward play, helped Fulham to achieve their top-6 goal last term, though they couldn’t capitalise on it at the end and Martin went back to Derby. Ironically enough, Fulham were dumped out of the playoffs by Reading, who have struggled to match that sort of form this season, asking for Martin’s help to dig them out of trouble.
The big striker has not been trusted to be the first-choice at Derby for some time but was a very important player for the Rams during Steve McClaren’s first period in charge of the club, being the focal point of the 4-3-3 shape and ending up as top scorer for three seasons in a row.
Despite McClaren taking just about all of the blame, it was Martin’s injury towards the end of the 2014-15 season which majorly contributed to Derby’s promotion bid falling flat. Martin has, for most of his career, been one of those archetypal underrated players and he deserves a chance to play every week. So from his point of view, I’m chuffed that this deal was completed.
As for Reading, well they definitely needed something extra. A look at the Royals squad tells you that they have been about quantity and not quality thus far, with plenty of options. But nobody is really stepping forward for the club to themselves the hero.
Martin will put himself on the line for Reading and will relish the chance to link up once again with winger Sone Aluko, the pair having played together last season along the road at Craven Cottage.