The in-form JD is in Moldova with the squad as we prepare for this evening’s Europa League Group K match against FC Sheriff, knowing that he is one goal away from Chiv’s 22-goal European total – a club record.
Having scored in both our Group K fixtures so far – the 3-0 win at home to Tromso IL and the 2-0 victory against Anji Makhachkala – JD knows that two goals tonight will see him overtake Big Chiv as our all-time top marksman in Europe.
And Martin, who won the UEFA Cup with us in 1972, says he’s proud of Jermain as he closes in on a history-making goal.
“I’m pleased for him to be quite honest,” said Chiv. “If I’m going to let any record go that I’ve got here, I don’t mind letting it go to Jermain Defoe, who is a great goalscorer.
“I’ve always sung his praises. I wouldn’t like to leave my record to somebody who I feel has been lucky – I don’t think he’s been that lucky at all. I think he’s earned everything he’s done, and he’s scored a load of goals in Europe, so good luck to him.”
The magnitude of being in a position to break our European goalscoring record is not lost on JD, and although he admits he’s feeling fresh after coming on for the closing moments of Sunday’s 2-0 win at Aston Villa in the Premier League, he’s under no illusions about what he’ll have to do to bag that landmark goal, whether that’s tonight or at some point down the line.
“I bumped into him (Martin) after the West Ham game and I said to him I was trying to avoid him!” joked JD.
“Maybe I’ll score – we’ll see what happens really. Obviously it would be nice if it happens, and if it doesn’t I’ll hopefully do it in the next game.
“I’m quite looking forward to it as I haven’t played for a while. I feel quite fresh to be fair, hopefully I’ll get the chance to do it – it’ll be good but you don’t want to be totally focussed on that because you don’t want to just think ‘I need to break the record’ and be too tense, so I’ll just relax and if it happens, I’ll be avoiding Chivs!”