Friday, 27 May 2011
408 Marcus Holness
Position : Centre half ( also played at full back )
Played : 2007-08 ( initially on loan from Oldham ) to ?
Appearances : 82 to date
Goals : 1 to date
Marcus was brought in to give us some defensive cover in October. The 18-year old had just returned from a loan spell with Ossett Town having not made a first team appearance for Latics.
Marcus made his debut in the JPT defeat by Bury having a steady game in a lacklustre team performance. Despite an injury crisis for the following Saturday's game at Grimsby, Keith Hill preferred to play Tom Kennedy at centre half and David Perkins at left back and we went in at half time a goal down having been ripped apart at the back. Then Marcus came on for Doolan and instantly turned the game with an ultra-solid display allowing Kennedy and Perkins to resume their normal positions. After that there were no qualms about giving Marcus first team action. His loan was extended by a couple of months and then turned into a permanent deal in January 2008.
Marcus became effectively understudy to Nathan Stanton though he couldn't have been more different, a 6 footer built like a tank with the temperament of Bobby Moore. In 4 seasons with us Marcus's yellow card total is still in single figures even if you include a couple he picked up while on loan at Barrow. He doesn't need to foul opponents; they shy away from him. Although Marcus doesn't look particularly fast you never see him getting caught for pace, a tribute to his positional sense.
Marcus accepted being third choice behind McArdle and Stanton and sometimes played at full back (on both sides) which isn't his best position. He was unlucky to get injured in the first leg of the play-off final at Darlington or he would probably have been our right back at Wembley. He spent three months of 2008-09 playing for one of his predecessors, Dave Bayliss , at Barrow where he made 11 appearances.
The following season he had the unwelcome surprise that newcomer Craig Dawson had leaped over him in the selection stakes but got on with it and by the autumn had actually displaced Stanton before a serious injury kept him out of action between November and April.
I had arguments with my match mates who thought he should be released when we went up so I was pleased when he was retained and delighted when he took his long-delayed opportunity so well in the season just gone. After an unsteady first game against Hartlepool (where those sat around me were just waiting for a calamity) he increased in confidence with every game. He's now started coming up for corners and making the occasional foray up the pitch. His distribution has steadily improved too; a lot of our attacks in the second half of the season started with a pass from Marcus to Chris O' Grady's feet.
Next season will be another challenge for Marcus as he doesn't yet know who his centre half partner will be but I've no doubt whatsoever he'll be up to it.