BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
HULL CITY boss Mike Phelan has confirmed that axed Scotland goalkeeper David Marshall is set for another glove battle as Allan McGregor nears a top-team return.
McGregor, 34, has not played a competitive fixture since a 5-1 win over Rotherham United in May after being diagnosed with a back injury which required surgery in the summer.
However, he has featured in the Tigers’ last two under-21 fixtures and is now eyeing the No.1 spot, which is currently occupied by his compatriot.
“I have Allan McGregor back playing,” said Phelan. “He has a little bit to do but they are all pushing each other now.
“If there is one area of the field where we seem strong right now, it is goalkeepers.
“It’s always good to see a footballer come back from an injury that raised question marks – from some – about Allan’s future in the game.
“All the hard work and effort Allan has put in since the very first day of his rehabilitation process has paid off.
“He’s back playing games and looking good, which is great to see. It’s great to have further competition for the spot between the posts.”
Marshall suffered a hammer-blow when he was replaced for Scotland’s 3-0 defeat against England at Wembley, with Craig Gordon stepping into the side.
And Phelan has revealed that he considered Marshall’s place in the Hull XI during a miserable run of form which included conceding 16 goals in five outings prior to their shock win over Southampton last time out.
He told the Hull Daily Mail: “I did think about that, yes. You have got to. You have to look at it and analyse why these things are happening.
“It is extremely difficult for a goalkeeper when goals are scored against you on a regular basis. In some circumstances, I felt for him because he couldn’t do a lot with many of those goals.
“Some were terrific goals, even at this level.
“But against Southampton, he showed that perseverance pays off. I stayed with him and stayed true to him. And David produced a performance that was a credit to him.”