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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 April, 2004, 12:18 GMT 13:18 UK
Marshall completes comeback
By Lewis Wiltshire

Andy Marshall celebrates Millwall's FA Cup quarter-final victory over Tranmere

While one goalkeeping Marshall is making headlines in Glasgow, another has been quietly rebuilding his career in south London.

Andy Marshall, who will play for Millwall in Sunday's FA Cup semi-final, would have spotted the impact made by namesake David at Celtic and smiled to himself.

Not so long ago Marshall, a decade older than the Celtic star, was the hot talent on the block - trying to break into a Norwich first-team then illuminating the same Uefa Cup competition which this week witnessed the footballing birth of another keeper bearing his name.

Marshall eventually dislodged Bryan Gunn from the first team at Carrow Road and in 2001, having just been crowned Norwich's player of the season, he switched to East Anglian neighbours Ipswich - to find Premiership football and taste the Uefa Cup for himself.

Then things started to go wrong.

Ipswich did not last long in the Premiership, nor the Uefa Cup a year later, and when Joe Royle took over from George Burley he decided he did not need Marshall's services at all.

After a demoralising spell out in the cold, Marshall's life was turned around in January when Dennis Wise rang out of the blue of Millwall and invited him to the Den on loan.

Now in April, having terminated his contract at Ipswich and signed with the Lions to the end of the season, Marshall finds himself just 90 minutes from the Millennium Stadium and another chance to play in Europe.

"That would really cap it off," he told BBC Sport.

Ipswich was the right club at the time - I'd have been a fool to turn it down
Andy Marshall

"It's been a very strange season - I've gone from nothing to an FA Cup semi-final, the brink of the Premiership and the chance of playing in Europe. It's been an amazing turnaround."

The winners of Sunday's game between Millwall and Sunderland at Old Trafford will claim the Uefa Cup spot reserved for the winners of the FA Cup since the other finalist, either Arsenal or Manchester United, will be in the Champions League.

Marshall said: "It would be very interesting without a doubt - Millwall getting into Europe. It would be very much an eye-opener for everyone!"

Whether or not the goalkeeper is around to enjoy it remains to be be seen - those negotiations must wait until the summer.

But Marshall seems to enjoy the confidence of his manager - and the feeling is mutual.

"He sets very high standards," said the 28-year-old of Wise. "He expects himself to live up those standards and everyone else to.

"You've also got Ray Wilkins there whose record is absolutely phenomenal - probably one of the best around in terms of what he's achieved in the game and what he's done in management as well."

This week Robert Green, once Marshall's understudy at Norwich, broke into the England squad - so does he regret ever leaving there?

"Hindsight is a great thing, but I needed to make the move away from Norwich for myself - I felt I had gone as far as I could with them.

"Ipswich was the right club at the time. It was Premiership football with the opportunity of playing in the Uefa Cup. I would pretty much have been a fool to turn it down really."

But now he finds himself preparing for what must be the biggest game of his career?

"I think it has got to be. I've never played in an FA Cup semi-final before - I've only ever got to the quarter-finals and got knocked out there so this is without doubt the biggest game I have played."

And he added: "Without a doubt we know what is at the end of it and the possibilities that can be achieved."




WATCH AND LISTEN
Millwall goalkeeper Andy Marshall
"I've gone from nothing this season to the FA Cup semi-final"




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