BEN Marshall is relishing the prospect of forming a deadly and dynamic wing partnership with the ‘brilliant’ Craig Conway next season – and handing Blackburn Rovers boss Gary Bowyer a major selection headache.
Marshall will return for pre-season on July 1 fully fit and raring to go after recovering from the injury which ruled him out of the final 19 games of the campaign.
And he cannot wait to link up with Conway, the player signed after his season was cruelly curtailed by ankle ligament damage, for the first time.
“Craig did brilliantly,” said former Eng-land U21 international Marshall, who joined Rovers from Leicester last summer.
“He’s got an engine on him, he can get past players and his delivery is brilliant.
“Hopefully he can be on one wing next season and I can be on the other and we can chip in with a few goals as well as putting the crosses in. I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
But if Bowyer is to select Conway and Marshall in the same side he will have to move Tom Cairney infield.
Cairney, Rovers’ player of the year, spent most of the season playing out wide and not his natural position in the centre of midfield.
And Bowyer said: “Marshy, before he got injured, was showing what a valuable player he is going to become for us, while the consistency of Craig Conway was phenomenal.
“If Craig had been here all season then I think he would have run Tom very, very close for player of the season. So it’s up to us to work out how to get them all on the pitch.”
Bowyer moved for Conway after Marshall was stretchered off in the 1-1 draw at home to Derby County on January 25.
And the £100,000 Bowyer paid Cardiff for the Scotland international proved money well spent.
Conway set up 12 goals and scored a further four as Rovers went on a rousing 12-game unbeaten run to end the campaign in eighth on 70 points.
That bettered the amount of points this season’s champions Leicester amassed when finishing sixth in 2012-13.
And Marshall, who was part of that Foxes team, said: “It feels similar to when I was at Leicester last season when we just about scraped into the play-offs.
“We all knew the season after we would be up there as the players had been playing with each other for a while and had gelled – and obviously they went on to win the league this season. That’s the feeling in the camp here too, that when we come we’re going to have a big chance.”
Meanwhile, Bowyer and Rovers director of communications Alan Myers have returned from their planned meeting in India with the club’s owners Venky’s.