Phillip Cocu has challenged Derby County striker Chris Martin to give him a selection headache.
The 30-year-old frontman made his first appearance in a Derby shirt since January 2018 in Friday’s 1-1 draw at home to Cardiff City.
Martin came off the bench in the latter stages of the game to a rousing reception from the Derby faithful.
After finding himself out of favour with previous managers Gary Rowett and Frank Lampard, Martin spent much of the last two seasons out on loan at fellow Sky Bet Championship sides Reading and Hull City.
However, he has been given a fresh opportunity to impress under Cocu and provides a different option in attack for the Dutchman to call upon.
Having not made the matchday squads in the first month of the season, Martin impressed in training and for Derby’s Under-23 side to return to the fold against the Bluebirds.
Cocu says Martin needs to make it as difficult as possible for him to leave the Scotland international out of his squads moving forward.
He told RamsTV: “It is always good to see, as a manager, that a player is loved by the fans.
“Chris has done good things for the club and we have spoken before about his physical state.
“He has worked very hard from the first day I met him and I had a few conversations with him.
“He knew he needed to get sharp. He worked hard for the moment and I told him that when he came off the bench.
“There is a lot of competition in this area of the team, so it is up to him to keep his good work up and make it difficult for me to make the choices in the team.”
Martin joined Derby from Norwich City in 2013, initially on loan before signing permanently soon afterwards, and in 187 appearances for the club he has scored 64 goals.
His most prolific seasons came in 2013/14 and 2014/15, when he netted 25 and 21 goals respectively, and went on to earn international honours for Scotland.