Ex-Portsmouth, Coventry, Sheffield United and Sunderland favourite hoping for play-off joy after succession of career set-backs

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The striker scored 12 goals in 34 appearances for Pompey in 2015-16.

He suffered play-off agony with Pompey, now the ex-Scotland international is bidding to avoid more heartache in the format.

Marc McNulty was a member of Paul Cook’s side eliminated at the hands of Plymouth in the League Two semi-finals in May 2016.

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The on-loan striker even bagged the opening goal in a 2-2 Fratton Park draw for the first leg, before the Pilgrims snatched a last-gasp winner in the decider.

Marc McNulty was Pompey's leading scorer in 2015-16 under Paul Cook. Picture: Harry Murphy/Getty Images)Marc McNulty was Pompey's leading scorer in 2015-16 under Paul Cook. Picture: Harry Murphy/Getty Images)
Marc McNulty was Pompey's leading scorer in 2015-16 under Paul Cook. Picture: Harry Murphy/Getty Images)

Now aged 31, McNulty is currently with The Spartans, an Edinburgh-based club operating in the fourth tier of Scottish football.

The Scottish League Two side finished third to qualify for the play-offs and, after beating Peterhead, must now overcome Dumbarton in the final to secure promotion.

However, there was disappointment on Tuesday night when Spartans suffered a 2-1 away defeat in the first-leg of the clash.

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After finding themselves 2-0 down after 29 minutes, the visitors pulled a goal back through Ayrton Sonkur in the second half to give themselves hope.

Ex-Sheffield United and Sunderland man McNulty, who has netted twice in 14 matches since arriving in February, featured for the full 90 minutes, but couldn’t help his team find a leveller.

It means they head into Friday’s decisive leg trailing 2-1, albeit with home advantage over a side they finished one point ahead of in the league table.

For McNulty, Spartans has represented the chance of regular football after some tough recent times, with a succession of injury issues playing their part.

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He was previously at Orange County Soccer Club in the USL Championship in America, where he scored three times in 25 appearances before being released in December.

The forward subsequently trained with Spartans, earning a deal with Douglas Samuel’s team until the end of this season.

That marked a sixth different club in five years, with his career declining since a big-money move from Coventry to Reading in July 2018 and making his Scotland debut the following year.

Since then he has appeared for Hibernian (two spells), Sunderland, Dundee United (two spells), Orange County and now Spartans.

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McNulty was previously Pompey’s top scorer in 2015-16 with 12 goals in 34 appearances while on loan from Sheffield United.

A Fratton Park return was explored, with the player looking at houses on the south coast, yet the dismissal of United manager Nigel Adkins and Chris Wilder’s appointment saw the move collapse.

He later won the League Two play-offs with Coventry in May 2018 to cap a season in which he netted 28 goals.

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