Marshall accepts his free transfer

ANDY Marshall last night accepted his poor form during the season had led to him being handed a free transfer by Ipswich Town, writes Derek Davis.The Blues keeper is now determined to put his nightmare 10 months behind him and show just how good he can be, either at Portman Road or elsewhere.

ANDY Marshall last night accepted his poor form during the season had led to him being handed a free transfer by Ipswich Town, writes Derek Davis.

The Blues keeper is now determined to put his nightmare 10 months behind him and show just how good he can be, either at Portman Road or elsewhere.

Marshall said: "I'm the first one to put my hands up and admit I did not have the best of seasons. It was below par and I know I have a lot more to give.

"I showed in glimpses what I can do but I know I was not consistent enough so I can understand where Joe is coming from."


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Marshall signed on a Bosman free transfer from Norwich City in the summer of 2001 to replace Richard Wright who had moved to Arsenal. But a back injury during pre-season prompted George Burley to buy Matteo Sereni for a club record £4.8m from Sampdoria and the Italian played for the first half of the season.

Sereni went on a season-long loan to Brescia last summer and Marshall became the undisputed No. 1. But a number of errors caused new manger Joe Royle to look elsewhere and he brought in Paul Gerrard on loan from Everton.

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Gerrard returned to Goodison Park injured and Marshall resumed as the starter. James Pullen forced his way into the reckoning and played well in the Worthington Cup win against Middlesbrough but had an unconvincing league debut against Grimsby at home and has subsequently been told he is on the free transfer list.

Marshall has been blamed for a number of points dropped during the season and accepts the fans' frustration and anger aimed at him but pointed out no one is hurt by the lapses more than himself.

He said: "It was a poor year for me and no one is more frustrated or disappointed than I am. Believe me, I hurt more than anyone when things happen. You work hard all week to prepare then one mistake goes against you and this season it has proved so costly.

"In previous years if I had made a half a mistake nothing drastic would happen, but this season every one, however little, was punished dramatically."

Marshall has worked with goalkeeping coach Malcolm Webster to eradicate the errors but admits it has not been easy to find the cause of the problem.

He said: "No one has been able to put a finger on why things have gone so wrong, it is no one thing.

"Perhaps a change of scenery or even just a fresh start here or elsewhere will be a good thing and things will be different next season."

Marshall still has another year on his contract and as one of the higher earners, is a player Ipswich would like to get off the wage bill.

He said: "I'm on a good wage, not one of the top guns in terms of earnings, and with the club's financial dilemma, I know that is a factor."

The confidence may have taken a dent but Marshall is determined to bounce back after his summer break. He said: "This is a knock but I will take the break then come back and work as hard as ever to win the jersey back. No one knows what will happen during the summer and if a decent offer from a club appeals to me then I will have to consider it but at the same time it may be that nothing will happen and I will be back for pre-season."

Royle admitted he had been in talks with a couple of possible replacements and hopes to unveil a new signing during the first week of June. The Blues boss has not ruled out the possibility of Gerrard returning after a loan spell at Portman Road last December ended with the Everton keeper picking up a serious knee injury.

Gerrard is behind Richard Wright but his Premiership wages may be a stumbling block.

Royle said: "It will be hard to get him but not completely out of the question."

Other keepers released recently include Bradford duo Aidan Davidson and Gary Walsh. Danny Coyne at Grimsby will be a target now they have been relegated.

The 6ft 8ins' Danish keeper Brian Jensen has been released by West Brom, while Sunderland keepers Jurgen Macho and Thomas Myhre are available for free.

But Royle was giving nothing away about his possible targets. He said: "I have had a couple of conversations with keepers and I hope to sign one almost as soon as we are cleared to do so after coming out of administration."

Town included Lewis Price in the first-team squad for the trip to Derby and Sereni is still technically a Town player and unless he is bought during the summer will be back in July.

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