Stanley keeper has a freaky Friday

Marcus Bettinelli

Marcus Bettinelli

First published in Sport This Is Lancashire: Photograph of the Author by , Sports reporter

ON-loan keeper Marcus Bettinelli admits he has had few stranger nights in football than Friday – after discovering at half time that parent club Fulham had changed their manager, then seeing Accrington Stanley lose from 2-0 up.

Bettinelli has impressed since joining Stanley from Fulham on a season-long loan but recent months have been more eventful than he ever imagined.

First Fulham replaced Martin Jol with Rene Meulensteen as manager, before the 21-year-old received a phone call on Christmas Day informing him that he was being recalled by the Premier League club because of an injury to Maarten Stekelenburg.

Bettinelli sat on the bench for Fulham for three games – wins over Norwich and West Ham, either side of an astonishing 6-0 loss at Hull – before returning to Stanley.

On Friday he helped the Reds to a 2-0 half-time lead at home to Scunthorpe but the visitors came back to win 3-2.

Meanwhile, the news was filtering through that Fulham had appointed their third manager of the season, former Bayern Munich boss Felix Magath, in place of Meulensteen.

“I didn’t know until half time when one of the lads who wasn’t in the squad told me,” Bettinelli said.

On the morning of Friday’s match Bettinelli had been baffled when he read reports that he may be recalled again by Fulham – something that did not turn out to be the case.

“I saw it on Sky Sports, I don’t really know what that was about,” he said.

“I got a couple of texts saying, ‘Are you going back?’.

“I said, ‘I don’t think so, no-one’s told me anything!’.

“I know Maarten Stekelenburg got a cut above the eye against Liverpool but I think he should be fine.”

All in all, it has been a surprising couple of months for the keeper.

“I definitely wasn’t expecting this at the start of the season,” he admitted.

“But I’m enjoying every minute of it, even games like Friday.

“I was bitterly disappointed like the rest of the team but you have to take positives and personally it was another game for me, another 90 minutes.

“When I was recalled by Fulham it was nice to be back but I was sitting on the bench and missing playing and that buzz you get every Saturday or Tuesday.

“Watching the Hull game was a tough one to take but that’s football and we had a good result at home to West Ham.

“I enjoyed my time being back at Fulham but I’m a young guy and I need to play football. I need to get my experience.”

Stanley host Bury tomorrow and have a midweek game at Portsmouth next week, so Bettinelli is expected to meet Magath for the first time in a fortnight.

“If we’ve not got a Tuesday game here I go back there Monday and Tuesday just to get a bit of goalkeeping coaching, because there’s only me and (reserve keeper) Andrew Dawber here,” Bettinelli said.

“I enjoy working with Dawbs but Fulham want me to go back to show my face as well.

“I’m not going to be down there for a couple of weeks, though, so I guess I’ll have to put with Dawbs!”

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