Every team needs its 'horrible' players, says Linnets star
- Credit: Ian Burt
Adam Marriott knows a thing one or two about the ‘horrible’ characteristics of some of football’s more physical specimens.
The Linnets striker comes up against the defensive behemoths every week, while he plays alongside one of those strikers who is often labelled a big target man, purely on size alone.
Michael Gash is the other half of a little and large combination that is now fully in harness following their absence at the beginning of the season.
At the other end of the pitch is Kyle Callan-McFadden, described – in admiring terms and purely as a footballer – as “horrible” by Aaron Jones earlier this season.
Neither gives an inch, but it is their experience which is at the heart of Lynn’s recent upturn in fortunes – the 34-year-old Gash’s return after serious illness came a week after Callan-McFadden's debut in November and now they are in the groove, things are changing. Manager Ian Culverhouse has on occasion demanded his players be a bit more street-wise – in Gash and Callan-McFadden, he has it in abundance.
“You have got to be horrible because there’s tough, tough strikers in the league, there are physical boys - a lot of the players are six foot two, six foot three, horrible in your face. We have obviously got one in Michael Gash - defenders have to give as good as they get.
“He (Gash) has been brilliant. I don’t know how he is doing it, but he seems to be getting better the older he gets; the work rate, not just holding the ball up. He is obviously an out ball and we can hit him and get up the pitch, but just his work rate. He is chasing defenders back and you think sometimes, ‘why are you doing that? Just save your energy for higher up the pitch’. But he gets through the 90 minutes and that is all credit to him. He is a goal threat, he holds the ball up, he’s an all-round team player and I have to say we probably do look better with him in the team.”
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McFadden has excelled in a flat back four and has made Lynn’s patience in securing his signature worth the wait.
But is he really horrible?
“He is a really nice lad, but, yes, on the pitch, as a defender you have got to have that in your game,” said Marriott.
“He is a really good player. You could tell straight away when he came in he was quality. Not just the centre half who kicks it, he gets us playing as well, tries to play from the back – we have got some really good players - the centre halves are all fighting for their places which is what you need. A team that is really going to push, on you need a competition for places and with Rory (McAuley), Smudge (Chris Smith) and Macca (Callan-McFadden) at the back there we have a good foundation in defence.”
The Linnets head to Dagenham & Redbridge on Saturday with Marriott confident he will have shaken off an ankle knock sustained during the midweek win at Eastleigh – when he scored the winner from the penalty spot. The last thing Marriott wants is a break in his own momentum
"I have been a bit frustrated with my game time this season, obviously with a few injuries and stuff it hasn't been easy, so to get a goal the other night and get a good 80 minutes in me, I want to carry that on and get a good run going and get some goals for the team really," said Marriott, who has seven league and cup goals this term.
"I haven't done too badly – five in the league and a couple in the Trophy. I'm not sure how many I have played, I missed a few, but all in all I'm not disappointed with my return but I know there are more goals out there for me so I will be trying the next few weeks to get a few more."
Culverhouse may be tempted into at least one change, with new signing, left-back Tyler Denton set for his debut.