A striker for Bristol Rovers, admits to playing for Bristol City before joining the Gas

The veteran striker joined Bristol Rovers on a free transfer earlier this week having been training with the club

New Bristol Rovers striker Chris Martin admits he didn’t think about his recent Bristol City past when signing for the Gas, and has revealed that he isn’t yet match fit with Saturday’s trip to Peterborough United the 34-year-old’s first opportunity to make his Gas debut.

Similarly to the situation with right-back Jack Hunt, Rovers have signed a player who has previously represented the red side of the city with Martin netting 17 goals in 95 appearances for City during a two-and-a-half-year period.

However, speaking publicly for the first time since signing for Rovers to BBC Radio Bristol’s ‘Having a Gas,’ the forward discussed his past representing the red side of the city, confessing: “Honestly, no”, when asked if he had thought about any loyalties to his previous employers.

“I think as a professional you have to block that out as much as I had a great time over at City and had a decent relationship with the fans there. I had no huge affinity to the club in terms of being a supporter as a young guy.

“It wasn’t like I was hugely attached to the football club. I know that that’s not exactly what fans want to hear but that’s kind of the reality as a professional. I think that most people have taken the decisions based upon a lot of different factors and that is one that is, I would say, minimally looked at. It’s more, what is the project, how can I contribute, what can I offer here, what can they offer me, what’s the relationship going to be like
“Obviously family stuff comes into it to but there’s lots of important factors. I hope that people don’t find it disrespectful but it’s a decision I’ve made for hopefully the benefit of myself, the football club and my family.”
Chris Martin (footballer, born 1988) - Wikipedia
Having trained with the League One club for the past few weeks as he’s still based in Bristol, the former Robins forward who has also played for QPR, Derby County and Norwich City was confirmed as a Rovers player on a deal until January on Wednesday evening having been a free agent following his release by the Rs at the end of last season.

It seemed inevitable that the Gas would at least assess the free agent market where strikers were concerned, having missed out on a club-record deal to bring Jonson Clarke-Harris back to the football club from Peterborough United by seconds on deadline day whilst Ryan Loft was sold to Port Vale to make way for the 29-year-old.

That had left John Marquis as the club’s only recognised centre-forward and despite the striker scoring in his last two league appearances for the Gas, an injury to the 31-year-old would have left Joey Barton’s roster significantly light up front.

Having won 17 caps as a Scotland international as well as boasting 114 goals in 456 Championship appearances, Martin left the Robins back in January, signing for their Championship counterparts on a free transfer soon after but didn’t have his contract at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium extended beyond last season despite having scored four goals in 16 appearances for the west London outfit.

“Happy to get it over the line,” he added. “I came in a couple of weeks ago and have spoken to the manager and people at the club. It’s been a really good fit. I’ve enjoyed it and nice to be back amongst it again.

“There’s always a lot of conversations in football, a hell of a lot. Some good conversations and some not so good but it was an interesting time. I’ve had a little bit of experience being out of contract previously. There were some ups and downs over the summer and to be inactive for that long wasn’t ideal but things have worked out positively and I’m looking forward to attacking the next couple of months.”

The 34-year-old also admitted the club’s ambition was a pull factor, adding: “I think it’s an exciting time for the football club. I think they’re really looking to take those next steps forward, challenging at the right end of the division and potentially beyond that too. That was a big attraction for me. I spoke to the manager a bit before I came here to train. He was very complimentary and said that he would really like to have me on board so I’m hoping it can be a fruitful relationship.”

Signing a short-term deal until January, Martin will have to impress his new employers on the pitch in order to extend that stay with Rovers having at least 19 more matches across all competitions before the turn of the year. The striker is eligible to be involved in the Gas’ trip to Peterborough on Saturday but admitted that he isn’t yet match fit and thus a debut in blue-and-white quarters could be delayed.

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