Shock praise for Marcelino

Last updated : 02 November 2002 By Martyn Elliott

Titus Bramble has been ruled out for three weeks with his hamstring injury and with Andy O’Brien also struggling and Nikos Dabizas suspended, the chances of Marcelino facing the smoggies on Monday night are high.

Remarkably Sir Bobby is quoted in The Journal as saying: "I've been greatly impressed with Marcelino this season. He has had an excellent attitude and has been a model professional.

"He has not just been content to see out the last year of his contract. He has trained hard and he has played in all the reserve games we've asked him to.

"He has never moaned or complained and now he has a chance to play for the first team again. He is part of the club again."

Then even more worryingly Sir Bobby went on to reveal that Marcelino is likely to play on Monday.

"We are stretched at the back because of injuries and suspensions. Aaron Hughes can play centre-back, then we have a choice of Robbie Elliott, Marcelino and young Steve Caldwell.

"And I'm serious about Marcelino. He is fit, he has been playing very well for the reserves and he is the most experienced defender in that position.

"He most certainly has a chance of coming into the side now, he could be a very useful player for us."

Whether or not Sir Bobby has Marcelino confused with another squad member is unclear.