SAINTS manager Russell Martin praised in-form Adam Armstrong, who kept up his pursuit of the Championship's top scorer accolade during Saturday's 2-0 win over Cardiff City.

The boss admitted the striker would have been disappointed not to net a hattrick against the visitors, after scoring twice in the first 15 minutes. 

Armstrong now has 12 goals in 19 league matches since the return to the second division, while his four assists mean no player has more goal involvement.

Only Blackburn Rovers forward Sammie Szmodics has scored more than Armstrong this season, who signed for Saints from Blackburn for £15million in 2021. 

Speaking after Saturday's match, Martin said: "I'm just going to tell you what an amazing guy he is and what an amazing player he is and how hard he works for the team.

"I think the supporters love him and we do. Not just his goals, but his relentless running and energy.

"He always seems to come up with the ball when it's a duel and it's like a 50-50, the tracking back, the running back – amazing, amazing," Martin continued.

"He deserves every moment he gets at the moment, the man of the match and the goals. I'm just disappointed for him he didn't get the hat-trick, as I think he'll be annoyed."

"He's also playing in different positions for us all the time, so it's not easy, but he's been incredible and I love working with him."

Armstrong has taken on the captain's armband since the injury to club skipper Jack Stephens in August and is set to continue in that role.

The Newcastle-born hitman will lead the line for Saints when they visit potential playoff chasers Watford on Saturday, December 9.