Mon | Oct 26, 2020

Marshall in Canadian PL hunt today

Published:Saturday | September 19, 2020 | 12:13 AMDaniel Wheeler/Gleaner Writer

Two months into his spell with Canadian Premier League (CPL) club Halifax Wanderers, midfielder Alex Marshall is already on the brink of a successful campaign.

The Wanderers face defending champions Forge FC in today’s final of the CPL Island Games, the revamped 2020 season that was condensed into a tournamen- style competition because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Marshall, 21 years old, despite officially signing for the club in January from Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) outfit Cavalier, had to wait seven months before being allowed to travel to Canada because of local travel restrictions, but he said that the team helped in his adjustment during lockdown and upon his arrival in Canada last month.

“All praise to my teammates and the coaching staff because from even before I got here in Canada, they’ve included me in every Zoom call,” Marshall told The Gleaner. “When I arrived, they made me feel as I’ve always been there with them.”

Marshall did not have the benefit of having a proper preseason before the first stage of the tournament began on August 13. However, he played in all seven games of the first round, registering three assists and helping the Wanderers advance from the first stage.

In his short time in the young league, Marshall says that he has had to adapt to the pace of the league as well as the nuances of living in Canada. However, he says that his game has seen improvement despite the limited time.

“I’d say my position when I don’t have the ball has gotten better, and one part of my game I still need to work on is my off the ball movement,” he said.

The Wanderers advanced to the final, finishing in the top two of the four-team group stage playoffs despite a 5-0 defeat to Pacific FC in their final game. Marshall says that the defeat was the wake-up call the team needed to focus for today’s championship match.

“I think that game has showed us that we can’t take anything for granted, and it has been the eye opener we need going into the finals,” he said.

Having to wait months to join his new team and playing under the bubble-like environment in Charlottetown, Marshall is hoping that his first season in Canada ends in glory.

“It would be wonderful to win it in my first year, especially under the current health circumstances, and I know it means the world to our ‘die-hearted’ fans in Halifax and also our friends and family back home,” he said.