Portsmouth new-boy and ex-Cheltenham and Bristol City favourite Marlon Pack lifts lid on Cardiff 'frustration' and disappointing end as he chases remarkable career record

A mightily impressive haul of almost 600 career appearances for a 31-year-old is not without its frustrations for Marlon Pack.

Monday, 27th June 2022, 4:55 am

Certainly a return of 564 games and 34 goals, largely in the Championship, reflects a talented and consistent performer who has avoided injury and form lapses.

Nonetheless, since February he was exiled from Cardiff’s first-team squad by newly-appointed boss Steve Morison.

For the first time in Pack’s career, he found himself sidelined – and an agonising six outings short of 500 Football League matches.

He was overlooked for the final 18 fixtures a campaign which saw the Bluebirds finish in 18th and signal the midfielder’s departure.

Now he has a two-year Fratton Park deal and new lease of life – with appearance landmarks back on the horizon.

Pack told The News: ‘At one point last season I was on the verge of breaking 500 league games and closing in on 600 overall – that’s what annoyed me the most.

‘At Cardiff, we weren’t doing as well as a team but I thought individually I was doing all right.

New Pompey signing Marlon Pack was frustrated how his three years at Cardiff ended. Picture: Alex Burstow/Getty Images

‘I think I give quite an honest assessment of myself and my performances, probably I’m actually more harsh than I need to be at times.

‘But we were struggling, the manager changed the team, mixed it around a bit, and was trying to tinker for a winning formula. I was out of the team, the lads went on a good run,and from there he found his side.

‘It hasn’t happened to me before, I’ve had a good run in the sense of being a mainstay in the team, but it is what it is, you’ve got to learn from it.

‘Steve Morison’s a young manager who wanted to bring in young players, phasing all the experienced players out. I was on the bench for a bit, but in the end didn’t make the squad.

‘Previously I hadn’t made a squad once or twice in my whole career, so it was frustrating, really frustrating, so I kind of wanted the season to end.

‘You are training every day without that carrot on a Saturday, without that competitive edge, which most athletes crave.

‘I’m pretty robust, I’ve had one injury in my career, which I did at Cardiff. It was a grade three hamstring, which is a freak one considering how I play, but even then I was back after six weeks.

‘In all fairness, how it finished at Cardiff allowed the heads up for me and my agent to sound out teams quite early on – like Pompey.’

Pack totalled 26 appearances and one goal at Cardiff last season.

That’s well below a career average of 48.64 matches in the previous 11 campaigns serving Cheltenham, Bristol City and his opening two Bluebirds seasons.

He added: ‘I’m looking to play every game this year and next for Pompey, at least 70 matches.

‘The unfortunate thing for players at my age (31) is there’s a stigma. Everyone wants legs and athletic players, while you are also seen as a commodity, so there’s a value.

‘I would imagine a lot of ownerships now or people in charge of running clubs want to buy players they can sell on, that’s just the way football has gone generally.

‘It’s a tough market and needs the right person to bring in experienced players, especially if you are a younger coach.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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