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Cherries: Bartley the emergency backstop
Published : 08 Oct 2009 07:00:00
Cherries star Marvin Bartley has laughed off suggestions he could become the John Terry of Dean Court despite stating a strong case for the defence. Bartley turned in an assured display after lining up as an emergency centre-back during Cherries Johnstones Paint Trophy defeat at Northampton on Tuesday. The 23-year-old, who has plied his trade as a midfielder since joining the professional ranks two years ago, was hailed as outstanding by boss Eddie Howe. He stepped in due to Cherries acute injury crisis the first time he had been asked to deputise in the position since he filled in for Caversham Boys as a 14-year-old. England captain Terry has never looked back since being converted from midfield to central defence as he came through the ranks at Chelsea. Dont tell Eddie that! quipped Bartley, when asked whether he knew of Terrys rapid progression. I know a few players who have dropped back but its usually when they get older and slower. Eddie asked me if I could play centre-back and I said I hadnt for about 10 years. He said thatll do!. Bartley added: I enjoyed it. I just like playing and will do my best wherever the manager puts me. I felt I did okay. In Eddie and Jason (Tindall), Ive got the ideal people around me to learn from. It was a good learning experience and is good for me to have another string to my bow. You seem to get a bit more time than you do in the middle of the park. But they are both very difficult positions. I found it hard at times but youve just got to get through it. Weve got such a small squad that its a benefit to be adaptable. I would willingly drop in there again, if called upon, and would give it my best. Depleted Cherries were denied an heroic victory when Ryan Gilligan netted a dramatic injury-time penalty just minutes after Lee Bradbury had seen his spot kick saved by Chris Dunn. I thought we played well and were the better team throughout, said Bartley. I thought they were given a very soft penalty when Bradders went shoulder-to-shoulder with their player. All in all though, we were happy with our performance. It gave a few of us a chance, including me, and I thought we did well. We would love to have progressed and moved a step closer to Wembley. But the league is our bread and butter and, if anyone had asked us at the start of the season to choose between the Johnstones Paint and promotion, we would have taken the latter all day long. Discussing Bartleys display, boss Howe said: He was outstanding, excellent. Everyone knows what a good athlete he is and I thought his positional sense was top class considering he hadnt played there before. It shows he is capable of playing in that position.