Marlon could be here a bit longer yet

Last updated : 25 February 2002 By Tony Scholes

Marlon was brought in at the end of January on the 31st January after Nik Michopoulos had sustained a calf injury at Cheltenham on the previous Sunday. He signed for a month after which it was hoped that Nik would be fit. Although there has been little if any news on Nik's recovery it has been revealed today that he is back in training but Stan has said he would like to extend Marlon's loan.

Marlon himself has said that he is keen to say on so it is now up to Middlesbrough manager Steve McLaren to decide whether he is happy for him to continue at the Turf. Given that he will be leaving Middlesbrough at the end of the season he should say yes unless one of the two other keepers at the Riverside, Mark Schwarzer or Mark Crossley, pick up an injury.

Stan added that Marlon's loan ends after Saturday's game against Norwich and that is one game longer than I envisaged with the Norwich game being in March. How close to match fitness Michopoulos is we don't know but Stan wants to keep Marlon and that would allow him a choice of two experienced keepers.

It is clear that Luigi Cennamo is no longer considered and he has not even been on the bench since that cup defeat as we have gambled without a sub keeper. Marlon has done well in his six games to date and only one of them, the home game against West Brom was lost. However he hasn't as yet been able to keep a clean sheet. The last time the Clarets achieved that was in the 0-0 draw at Wimbledon on 12th January.

Stan has always said that he wants competition for places in all positions and should Marlon's loan be extended and with Nik fit it will give him just that for the goalkeeping position.