'He'll be a great asset' - Portsmouth-linked defender Toby Mullarkey receives glowing reference as ex-Crewe and non-league star emerges as Blues target

Altrincham defender Toby Mullarkey has received a glowing reference after emerging as one of Pompey’s first summer targets.

By Sam Cox
Tuesday, 10th May 2022, 4:30 pm
Updated Tuesday, 10th May 2022, 4:39 pm

Now Robins expert Tim Hammersley has given his verdict on the ex-Crewe man.

Here’s what he had to say.

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Q: What are Mullarkey’s assets?

A: ‘Mullarkey is very much a modern ball playing centre-back.

‘He often likes to take the ball out from the back and he’s very dynamic and mobile. Not only that, though, he’s very good in the air and has an absolute rocket of a right foot.

‘Against Torquay he scored a worldie from about 25 yards out and hit it first time into the top corner.

Pompey target Toby Mullarkey Picture: Alex Livesey/Getty Images

‘It doesn’t happen all the time, but when he has the ball 35 yards from goal everyone is anticipating him shooting because he has that ability.

‘He is always solid at the back and has a really good head and he’s just a very, very good all-round centre-half, with a little more than others in the National League.

‘He does have the confidence on the ball to take it out from the back and not just play a long ball, but he can also create things and start attacks from his own half.

‘This season has certainly been his breakthrough. He properly came to the fore in the promotion campaign of 2019-20 in the Covid-hit play-offs.

‘He was a key player in that play-off run and that’s when he cemented his place in the first team.

‘Fans aren’t surprised Football League clubs are coming in for him because he definitely has the ability to step up.’

Q: How suited is he to League One football?

A: ‘I think Mullarkey can play there, I have no doubt about that.

‘He has the qualities and the ability to play from the back, as defenders absolutely have to these days, and that’s why he stands out in the National League.

‘It would be a big jump for him because the gap from the National League to League One is significant, but if Pompey and clubs like that are looking at him, then there’s a reason for that.

‘From having watched him this season, I’m not surprised that a League One club is looking at him.’

Q: Would he fit into Danny Cowley’s system with ease?

A: ‘A lot of National League clubs this season have looked to play long balls over the top, which Toby has been able to bring down and play out from the back and launch attacks from the halfway line.

‘When Altrincham have been defending a lead, he’s more than capable of hoofing the ball down the pitch, too.

‘Generally, you’ll see in Altrincham games of short distribution from the goalkeeper, with Toby taking it out or sweeping up long balls, then carrying them back – rather than hoofing it.

Q: At 25, does he have room to improve or is he at his peak?

A: I definitely think there’s room for further development. Look at the improvement he’s made in the last couple of years being stretched in the National League.

‘He’s definitely got room to push beyond that and I have no doubt he has the capacity and capability to make that move.

‘I’m sure he’ll be a great asset to whoever he goes to.’