Marvin's Cherries' very own superhero...
SEEN by many Cherries followers as the heartbeat of the team, Marvin Bartley is viewed very differently by those in opposing camps. On current form, the midfield dynamo is the man every fan wants in their side and the one they hate to come up against. Bartley has taken his game to a new level in recent times, adding brain to the brawn that had always made him a fearsome opponent. His touch has improved immeasurably as the 24-year-old has supplemented his combative streak with some well-honed creative instincts. And while athleticism has always been his greatest quality, the indefatigable Bartley is rapidly developing into the complete midfielder. A rough diamond of a player when he was plucked from non-league by Kevin Bond, Bartley is establishing himself as the jewel in the Cherries crown. The former window fitter, now in his fourth season at Dean Court, told the Daily Echo: I'm trying to be more consistent. In previous seasons, I think I showed in spells that I was always capable of performing at whichever level we were at but I know consistency is the key. Coming from non-league, it does take a bit longer to adjust. Some of the boys have been doing it full-time since they were 16 and it was more difficult coming in at 19. People expect you to be able to do it straight away but that's not the case. I was a few years behind some of the others so it has taken a bit of time. Bartley collected his second successive sponsors' man-of-the-match award following another all-action display in the Cherries engine room during Saturday's 2-0 win over Carlisle. And despite orders from the visitors' dugout to stop him running the show, the Cumbrians were powerless as Bartley again took centre stage. Co-incidentally, one of the men barking instructions from the touchline was Graham Kavanagh, himself a formidable midfield player, very much in the Bartley mould. Bartley said: We know we are going to come up against some experienced campaigners and better players in this league. I think that is inspiring not only me to step up my game, but a lot of the other players as well. On the whole, we've done well so far and hopefully it will continue. When you are on the pitch, reputations don't count for anything. When I'm out there, I'm looking to play my game and, if anybody gets in the way, I will try to get them out of the way. If you start showing people too much respect, you can take your mind off the game. You can shake hands afterwards but it's all about winning. Bartley admits increased competition for places is also a major spur with several new signings giving boss Eddie Howe plenty of options in midfield. We've got a very strong squad so you need to perform in every game, said Bartley. The days of people having a bad run and staying in the side are long gone. You've got to be on your mettle in every game and I think that is helping because everyone has been performing really well. From what I have seen so far, I think we are also one of the fittest teams in this league. We work very hard in training and we do a lot of strengthening work with Jon (Dalzell). The boys are looking stronger the longer the games go on. We've got a lot of games in a short space of time but are more than ready for them. Asked whether his man-of-the-match awards were taking pride of place on his sideboard, Bartley replied: I've got them on a shelf. Hopefully, I'll need a cabinet soon!
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