Grimsby Town will fight for Marcus Marshall but refuse to start bidding war with Luton
GRIMSBY Town are refusing to start a bidding war with Luton over Marcus Marshall – but remain hopeful the winger will return to Blundell Park.
The 23-year-old has been among the Mariners’ star performers since joining on loan from Bury in November.
However, as revealed on thisisgrimsby.co.uk/sport yesterday, the wideman has been recalled by his parent club after a Hatters’ offer was accepted.
After losing out on fellow winger Scott Neilson to Luton already this season, having another star poached by their Conference title rivals would be a bitter pill to swallow for the Mariners.
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The only saving grace would be a failure to agree personal terms – something Town joint boss Rob Scott hopes could prove to be a sticking point.
“We’re fighting to keep Marcus but the offer that Luton have put in is ridiculous really,” Scott said.
“The amount of money that they’ve offered for him when he’s out of contract at the end of the season is ridiculous, but that’s their business.
“I’ve got an idea what the figure is. I’m not going to band that around because it’s not my place to say, but it’s over and above anything that we think could be a logical figure.
“That rules us out if it was to go to a bidding war. We’re not in the market to do that anyway, we’ve said that all along.
“If Luton want to flex their muscles financially, that’s up to them. We’ll keep our house in order and do what we need to do.
“However much we want to keep Marcus, we’re not going to get into a wage war – his agent knows that.
“We’re relying on Marcus wanting to come and play good football in a good team with a good team spirit, so hopefully that will be persuasive.
“But he has got two young children and sometimes it comes down to finances, which we understand.”
If Marshall fails to agree terms at Kenilworth Road, he will either go back to Bury, or return to the Mariners on loan.
Scott added: “We’re in conversation with Marcus and his agent. They’ve made an offer to Marcus, but I don’t think it’s one he’s ready to accept.
“Obviously Bury are trying to push him that way and Kevin Blackwell (Bury boss) has got links with Luton from the past. So we’re fighting things that maybe out of our control.”
Scott says that the first he and co-manager Paul Hurst head of Luton’s interest was on Saturday evening. And he admits that the Hatters’ pursuit of their top loanees is becoming an annoyance.
“We’re disappointed,” he continued. “Bury recalled Marcus because they’ve accepted an offer from a club in our league – I’ll give you one guess who it is.
“But I’ll send an invoice in to Luton as their chief scout I think.
“Luton are trying to cherry-pick the best players out of this league, and because of our league standing they’re trying to take some of our players that are on loan.
“People will say ‘they’re only on loan so you leave yourself open’ but these are players that we tried to sign who opted to go to League One and League Two clubs.
“So it’s a gamble we took and unfortunately at the moment it’s up in the air.”
Paul Buckle’s men were also believed to be interested in striker Ross Hannah before the striker opted to sign a permanent deal with the Mariners earlier this month.
“I’m not going to get into a slanging match with Luton,” Scott said.
“Paul Buckle’s obviously been in the job a little while now and he’s looked around the league and decided which players he wants to get.
“He’s taken Scott Neilson, he’s tried to take Marcus Marshall and the rumours were that he was looking at Ross Hannah and Nathan Pond. They’re all good players so you will have clubs looking at them.
“We were lucky that Ross decided to stay here because he enjoys his football and that speaks volumes for the football club.
“Luton have obviously got the financial muscle to do this. They’ve done it to Newport and tried to upset them with Christian Jolley as well, but that’s football.”
Town’s bosses hope that Marshall has enjoyed a similar connection with the club and will follow Hannah’s lead.
“Marcus wanted to come here on loan until the end of the season. Him and his agent decided that is what they wanted to do and that he wanted to leave his options open,” Scott commented.
“He’s enjoyed his football here and he’s grown as a player after being at Bury and losing a bit of confidence and enjoyment for the game.
“He’s come here and that’s been re-ignited – he’s really enjoyed his football.
“I spoke to his agent yesterday morning, and he said Marcus wasn’t looking for a permanent offer.
“He wanted to keep playing and hopefully go up with us, and then stay in the Football League with us next season.”
On the search for a possible replacement, Scott added: “We don’t know what’s happening with Marcus yet, so you’re caught between the devil and the deep-blue sea.
“We’re certainly making phone calls and seeing what crops up, but whether it’s done before tonight’s match with Hyde is doubtful.”