Mark Marshall credits the hard work he’s been putting in on the training ground for his return to contention at The Valley.
The Jamaican-born winger, 31, started three league games for the Addicks in August but soon found his chances limited, failing to make another league appearance until coming off the bench in a 2-0 home win over Doncaster in November.
He has had a further six cameos in league games since then, culminating in Saturday’s 2-0 triumph over fellow South Londoners AFC Wimbledon at The Valley, where Marshall drove home the crucial second goal in the dying embers of a fiery encounter.
“At times it’s difficult but it’s a new challenge for me,” explained Marshall.
“Trying to work my way to get back into the team and stuff like that. I’m a professional at the end of the day. I’ve just got to work hard, be disciplined and respect the manager and the personnel in front of me and try to better myself. It’s ultimately about trying to better myself. Me coming back into the team is not down to sitting down and whining. I’m out there practising every day. It doesn’t end here because I scored a goal. I’ve got to keep going because eventually I do want to start a game.
“Yes, there’s times I’m disappointed but I try to be as professional as possible. Every time I go on I put in maximum effort because at the end of the day it’s about me looking in the mirror and saying to myself, did you try your best today? If I look in the mirror and say I didn’t give my best today, I’ll be disappointed with myself. Not the manager, not the players, not the fans. Every time I play football I want to be one of the best players and earn my money. I want to work hard because I love playing football.
“When you do anything, you want to be playing. Sometimes it’s frustrating not playing but I’ve just got to bide my time and keep working hard. Today luckily, I got the reward. Sometimes you work hard but things don’t drop for you and sometimes they do. I’m a firm believer that if you keep working hard, more times than not something positive will happen. I’m not going to rest on this. I’m going to get back onto the training ground and work even harder. I want more goals, I want more assists. I want to help my teammates and help myself as well by putting in good performances.”
Lee Bowyer’s preference for a narrow diamond in the midfield asks a lot of out-and-out wingers like Marshall, but the former Bradford City man says he’s been coached how to perform in that formation.
“We’re playing a diamond formation,” he explained.
“I’m an out-and-out winger. The boys are doing well and it’s difficult when you’re not playing. You’ve got to support the boys. The team is doing well. He’s honest and picks the team. I’ve just got to get my head down and work hard. Hopefully I can keep putting in performances like this and contributing and then you never know what will happen.
“For anyone it’s hard. You’ve got to get out to the full-back and then get back in. It’s challenging physically. We train four days a week, get the instructions of how to play the diamond.
“You’ve got to take that on board, go out there and do your best. We get prepared really well. Him [Lee Bowyer] and Jacko and the coaching staff, everything is attention to detail. There’re no excuses when we go out there. We got told how Wimbledon will play and that’s the protocol for every game. You’ve got the information on the team and you’ve got to execute the information that you get given. More times than not it’s working this season. We’ve just got to continue to take the information on board that the manager is going to give us and hopefully it will get us to where we’ve got to go.”