Aaron Cresswell has urged Blues fans to lay off Lee Martin – and labelled the winger as one of Town’s most influential performers.

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The duo have played together down Town’s left flank for much of the season but Martin incurred the wrath of supporters recently, who criticised his lack of an end-product.

Yet to break his goal duck for the season, the hard-working winger was guilty of missing a sitter in the 2-1 defeat at Bristol City last month – a moment that seems to have stuck with the Town faithful.

But after the 1-0 defeat at Blackburn, in which Mick McCarthy’s men struggled to carve out chances, the 26-year-old could be the answer on the left-hand side of midfield, against Blackpool, at Portman Road this weekend, providing he overcomes a hamstring strain. That move would enable Daryl Murphy to revert to his more accustomed role in attack.

Town will be keen for revenge against the Tangerines, who thumped the Blues 6-0 earlier in the campaign.

One clean sheet from 10 league games indicates they could be there for the taking and Cresswell’s words suggest the game would suit Martin.

“I think Lee Martin is one of our best players,” said the highly-rated defender.

“Fans see it different but the Bristol game was unlucky, when he missed. And, if you look at the statistics, he does the most running in our team and he has got the most assists.

“OK, his crossing is sometimes not the best but myself, Carlos (Edwards), (Richard) Stearman and Bradley Orr, when he was here, have not always put in the best deliveries either.

“I think Lee is one of our most important players.”

Cresswell has become one of Town’s most consistent performers in the campaign, following a difficult start, and has returned to the form that saw him secure last season’s Player-of-the-Year award.

However, the Liverpudlian has been quick to heap praise on Martin and Murphy who have played a crucial defensive role at times ahead of him.

“Lee Martin has got more energy, but Daryl (Murphy) does a great job too,” he said.

“Whoever is in front of me knows that they have to put in the same workrate as Daryl and Lee do.”

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