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“I’d just like to say that I would never in a million years go to Norwich. I can categorically say that.” Marc Tierney, Essex, sometime in January 2010

“…steady on, now’s your chance

Hurrah we’ve scored a goal!”  Marc Tierney, with John Ruddy and others Fratton Park, 2nd May 2011.

Whatever the facts are around the representation of the first statement there is no doubt that Tierney has bought into City life. Seeing him and Ruddy belting out the sacred hymn was one of the memorable moments from Pompey – more impressive than the cart-wheels, for sure.

To be honest he seems like the sort of bloke who will immerse himself in whichever club he plays for and looks like one of the cheer-leaders amongst the squad –which is good- even if he does do the Andy Hooze happy clappy thing and has a dubious taste in white suits .

It been increasingly obvious that time and injuries have taken their toll on the legendary Adam Drury and, for different reasons, Smith and Lappin were not the answer as cover. So Lambo raided his old club again. Half a season later after being eased into the team, Marc has established himself as first choice.

Initial thoughts on hearing of his arrival were not that promising. The rogue quote, an undistinguished career around the lower leagues, and a bundle in the quagmire at Col U after scything down Wes. He looks hard (since proven to be the case) and a bit psycho. But In Lambert We Trust…

Confession time. I’m a (very) old, fully paid-up, member of the left-back’s union so have a keen sense of how this position is under-appreciated. Make no mistake, in the diamond that we now love so much, having two fit, footballing full-backs is vital.

Martin (R) and Tierney have a lot of work to do. Some teams try to counter your formation with wide men breaking hard at you a la Leeds and Swansea. Others, like Watford, match you up and then bang balls behind you into the channels. Either way, when the midfield cover hasn’t moved across or is caught upfield, that’s a pretty lonely 80 odd yards of space to fill. You need a good engine and both of these boys have one.

On top of that, you’re expected to get forward and help provide attacking width.

He’s surprised and impressed me in that respect – he is a better crosser of the ball than Drury (assists against Barnsley, Derby and Coventry) – and has developed a good understanding with Surman down that flank because he can play pass and move in the Lambert style. Having stung the keeper’s hands a couple of times, I was surprised to find that he’s only notched two career goals

He’s not the quickest but by no means a slouch. Defensively, he seems positionally sound until the ball is in and around the right side of our penalty area – we’ve shipped a couple from balls in from that side where he and Whitbread seem to have lost their men – or am I being harsh?

What about the premier then?

Like everybody else, he’s is going to have to step up. From a distance, I think that the premier has become more tactically aware since we were last there. Formations seem more fluid, especially amongst the middle and lower ranked teams.

As a result I suspect he’ll be targeted and often exposed if we continue with the diamond. We conceded 58 goals this season, which shows a need to tighten – but Lambert and Culverhouse will have plans.

As a footballer, I think that he can make the transition. He works hard on the pitch and judging by his fitness levels, off the pitch too. He isn’t Ashley Cole (thank God, and there’s no guns allowed at Colney anyway) but he’s one of us and if he keeps doing the simple thing well he’ll be OK.

OTBC

by Ted Bowger

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