Future on backburner but Rhys Marshall relishing current run

Rhys Marshall following his weekend goal. Pic by Pacemaker.Rhys Marshall following his weekend goal. Pic by Pacemaker.
Rhys Marshall following his weekend goal. Pic by Pacemaker.
Rhys Marshall’s short-term position on the pitch and long-term position at the club may both be open to debate but his status as one of the Irish League’s brightest talents remains without question.

Having attracted widespread acclaim and transfer interest given his growth at Glenavon as a dynamic right-back, Marshall’s recent move forward into midfield has yielded guaranteed gains even if his next career move remains uncertain.

Glenavon’s commitment to internal development under manager Gary Hamilton has resulted in players like Shayne Lavery, Bobby Burns and Mark Sykes securing moves across the water into professional football.

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Marshall’s long list of admirers includes domestic rivals Larne and Linfield for a player in the closing stages of his current contract.

Following goals on the road, Marshall fired home Glenavon’s equaliser in front of the home support on Saturday against Ballymena United during another impressive and energetic display.

“I’ve been pushed up the pitch and the manager wants me to get forward and beyond the strikers as that’s something we’ve maybe missed,” said Marshall. “It is working so hopefully the goals will keep on coming.

“I see where the manager is coming from as I like to be on the ball and sometimes at right-back you are having to defend more and if under pressure it can be 20 minutes before you even get a chance to get on the ball.

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“I’m enjoying midfield, it’s a tough shift and the last few weeks it has been myself and Robert Garrett in the centre up against three.

“But I like to be up the pitch, getting shots and headers on target.

“When at right-back you are out wide with no-one coming at you from one side and I like to pick up the ball deep and run.

“Midfield can be congested at times but you get it higher up the pitch so you can be more dangerous.

“I’m happy to play anywhere the manager thinks.

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“There has been a lot of talk about my future but I’ve just said I’m in no rush and want to wait.

“I’m coming 25 years old soon and I think I’m in my seventh season at Glenavon, so it’s a big decision.

“I’m just looking to see how we do, if any more come in and what’s going on.

“I will see how, even to January, it pans out and take it from there.”

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Glenavon boss Gary Hamilton is, as expected, full of praise for the player.

“I think Rhys Marshall would be the best central midfielder in the Irish League - he’s got everything in his game,” said Hamilton. “I just think when you’ve got that much ability and can bring so much to the table he’s sometimes wasted at right-back.”

GLENAVON: Tuffey, Doyle, Daniels (McCloskey, 55), Marshall, Mitchell (Murray, 80), Hall (Jenkins, 79), Burns, Singleton, Garrett, Harmon, O’Mahony.

Subs (not used): Larmour, Marron, Clingan, Wearan.

BALLYMENA UNITED: Glendinning, Addis, Mayse, Friel (K.Kane, 79) McCullough, Carville (Lavery, 62), McGrory, Balmer, Winchester, Ervin, Millar.

Subs (not used): Williamson, Whiteside, McGinty, Kelly, Warnock.

Referee: Steven Gregg.