Experienced striker Chris Martin will not be rejoining Derby County after he was released by Bristol City on transfer deadline day.
Martin's time with the Robins came to an end on the last day of the transfer window, with him and the club agreeing to mutually terminate his contract so he could join a club without any complications. He was released along with Timm Klose, who like Martin was not in the first-team picture for the last two months.
The 34-year-old had a one-year extension at Ashton Gate after reaching a certain number of games, and broke in to double figures for goal last season, but this year was limited to substitute appearances. Martin's only goal came against Sunderland, and since then he's been ousted by Nahki Wells, whilst both Sam Bell and Tommy Conway has emerged.
Despite being able to be allowed to name nine substitutes in FA Cup matches, both Klose and Martin were not included, and they were both told before the start of the window that they could leave. The arrival of Cornick and Mehmeti meant that Martin could leave as they had the appropriate cover.
A return to Pride Park was touted before the window shut, with Derby the club where he enjoyed his longest stint as a player. He played for the Rams between 2013 and 2020, which also included loans to Fulham, Reading and Hull City. He scored 78 goals in 238 matches after initially joining on loan.
It has been more than two years since Martin left Derby, and he last played for them in the 2019/20 season, but a return will not be happening. Derby are battling for promotion from League One, and currently fourth with James Collins and David McGoldrick leading the line for them, with manager Paul Warne ruling out a return for Martin.
"I am fully respectful of his career and he had a much better career than me," Warne said to Derbyshire Live.
"I know he was a real fans' favourite but a lot has changed since he was here. If he's been released by Bristol City, maybe he's got something he wants to go into or retire, I don't know.
"But there's no contact from me or the club, or anything like that. There is no intention, respectfully from me, to sign him. I play with a high press at the front of the pitch and I'd look a bit of an idiot if I signed a non-pressing centre forward in truth.
“I don't know if he ever did press, but he's a target man and a great finisher. But you pick players who suit your system, not the other way around."
As Martin was released inside the transfer window, he can join any English Football League club if they have spaces in their squad lists. Teams in the Championship and League Two can sign players that are not attached to a club, providing they do not go over their squad limit.
In his time as a player at Bristol City, Martin made 75 appearances, scoring 16 goals. A highlight included a brace against Cardiff City in a Severnside Derby win in January 2022.