Gunny hopes Marshall plays for keeps
DAVID CUFFLEY Norwich City have been warned that David Marshall is not for keeps - but the club's most famous Scottish goalkeeper is not giving up hope of a U-turn at the end of the season.
Norwich City have been warned that David Marshall is not for keeps - but the club's most famous Scottish goalkeeper is not giving up hope of a U-turn at the end of the season.
The 21-year-old Marshall, on loan from Celtic for the rest of the campaign, has made a good impression in his first three games for the Canaries.
Parkhead manager Gordon Strachan insisted the move was only given the go-ahead “so that David can get better for us and himself”, and Carrow Road boss Peter Grant admitted he was surprised even to get the player on a temporary basis.
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But former City and Scotland 'keeper Bryan Gunn, now the club's community ambassador, is hoping the lure of regular first team football and the welcoming environment of Norwich and Norfolk may work the same magic on Marshall that he first experienced more than 20 years ago after signing from Aberdeen.
Said Gunn: “David is a quality goalkeeper, highly thought of at his club. I am sure, like a lot of young goalkeepers - Ben Foster at Watford and Scott Carson at Charlton - big clubs have signed them up but are happy to let them go on loan and get valuable experience.
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“David is no different in that he can come down here and play. And if he's successful and he enjoys it, maybe he feels he might want to make that break away.
“It's great to be here playing games at a club with such good facilities and in the environment of the club and Norwich and Norfolk, as happened to me 20-odd years ago.”
Marshall has two full Scotland caps, and getting international recognition would be important for him, said Gunn.
“It's one of those situations where if he continues to compete at a high level - and being included in international squads is important - you don't know what's going to happen.
“From what I've seen he's somebody who has come into the squad and been accepted by the fans and the rest of the players and has done very well so far.”
Gunn is watching with interest as two Scotland internationals vie for the role of first-choice 'keeper.
He said: “I was impressed with Paul Gallacher when he broke into the side towards the end of last season and he has given some excellent performances.
“This season the competition behind the scenes has not been as great and I can see where the manager is coming from in getting other goalkeepers in to compete for that number one spot. He wants competition for all places and from my own experience, it's a way of keeping you on your toes.
“Now David is here for the rest of the season. I missed the Blackpool game but from the reports and the clips I've seen on TV it seems he had an excellent game.
“In the two home games I was impressed with his handling and his command of the penalty area. Unfortunately I've not seen him have to make too many saves, but from the team's point of view that's a good sign. Away from home, you would expect to be under pressure and expect him to have more to do.”
The arrival of three new Scottish faces during the January transfer window has led to light-hearted talk of a Tartan takeover at Carrow Road, but Gunn reckons it makes sense to trawl for talent north of the border.
He said: “Peter Grant was working very hard behind the scenes up to the last minute. With Simon Lappin and Mark Fotheringham, it was a will they, won't they sign situation.
“Simon was under contract at St Mirren but they very graciously let him come down and speak to Norwich and it was the perfect chance to add a left-sided player to the squad.
“The fact he got the sponsors' man of the match award against Leeds - and that Terry Allcock was involved in advising them on that decision - shows that he had an excellent debut, just two days after coming into the club.
“Mark Fotheringham hadn't played as many games lately but he certainly didn't show any lack of fitness. When he got a bit more space in the second half, you could see his ability.
“A lot of people are downgrading the level of competition in Scotland, but Scotland's youngsters are doing well at world level and there are a lot of good players coming through. Peter is using his contacts in Scotland and those type of things are very important.”
One of those contacts is former Dundee and Hearts boss Jim Duffy, who was Fotheringham's boss at Dens Park.
City confirmed last week that Duffy been invited to Carrow Road “to talk with Peter about players and football in general” - but did not indicate whether he was a candidate for the current coaching vacancy at Colney.