HAVING managed to find the net just once during 2018, Hull City loanee striker Chris Martin admits the doubts had started to creep in.
Not too many, the 30-year-old insists. But enough to make his goal in the New Year’s Day mauling of Bolton Wanderers feel that extra bit special.
“It was relief more than anything,” said Martin about his clinical finish in the 6-0 thrashing of the Trotters. “It had been a long few months.
“With the celebrations afterwards, everyone came and joined in together.
“We were going crazy, bouncing around and all sorts. I think the lads just felt the frustrations I have had since being here.”
Martin would have had a hat-trick but for a stunning block on the line by Mark Beevers in the first half and then the crossbar just a few minutes after finally breaking his duck.
It was a hugely promising afternoon, not only the on-loan Derby County forward, but also the Tigers.
After starting December languishing in the bottom three, City have soared up the table courtesy of taking 19 points from a possible 21.
Such a run is a welcome turn of events for a club who took a long time to come to terms with the loss of their Premier League status in May, 2017.
Now, though, Hull are looking upwards and Martin is determined to do his bit now he is off the mark.
I am hoping this can be the first of many. That is my aim. For me, 2018 has been one of the most difficult years of my career on and off the pitch but I think I have learned a lot about myself and, hopefully, this year can be a lot more positive.Hull City’s Chris Martin
“Probably now and again I would say,” he replied when asked if the barren run at Hull had led to doubts.
“But I am a pretty confident person so not too much.
“Every striker probably goes through it when they are in a drought and thinking, ‘Where is the next one going to come from?’
“But now I am hoping this can be the first of many. That is my aim. For me, 2018 has been one of the most difficult years of my career on and off the pitch but I think I have learned a lot about myself and, hopefully, this year can be a lot more positive.”
As for City’s future prospects, Martin added: “It is an interesting question but one that is impossible to answer right now. As it stands, we are confident going into any game.
“We’re obviously not going to continue to win every single game until the end of the season.
“But I really do feel that we can continue that sort of form moving forward and, hopefully, we start to pick teams off above us.
“We have got a togetherness and unity and a good squad – everyone contributes when they need to – and we have good professionalism.”