Hatters striker has a soft spot for the south-west
The south-west of England has become home-from-home for Hatters striker Jack Marriott in recent weeks – and he’s hoping to keep enjoying his long trips south when we open up the Sky Bet League Two campaign at Plymouth Argyle.
Last season’s top scorer netted the winning goal when the Town took all three points away from Home Park on March 19th.
It was one of 16 goals Marriott managed in all competitions in his first season at Kenilworth Road, and the 21-year-old has his eyes on proving the cream of Devon once more when we head south on Saturday August 6th.
“Beautiful!” was the 21-year-old’s response when told of the season opener this morning. “I had to drive a few miles past their ground last week when I went down to Cornwall on holiday with my girlfriend Taylor and all my family.
“We stayed in Holywell Bay, a lovely little place near Newquay. I love it down there, even though it’s a trek.
“I certainly didn’t mind the six-hour trip back from Plymouth last season. You don’t when you’ve taken all three points and you’ve scored the winner, do you? It was one of my most memorable days.”
Marriott latched onto a pass from Paddy McCourt – who left Kenilworth Road at the end of the season to be with his wife Laura as she prepared for an operation to remove a brain tumour in his native Northern Ireland – to slot home in the 27th minute of our last visit to Argyle.
It took the Hatters to within six points of a play-off place with nine matches to go.
“My winner at Leyton Orient was probably my favourite goal last year, because I’d been sent off against them earlier on in the season and you always feel you’ve got a point to prove when that happens,” says Marriott.
“But the one at Plymouth was right up there because of its importance at the time in keeping our play-off hopes alive.
“It was a little left footer, inside the near post after I’d been slipped in by Paddy. I’m sorry to see him leave, but family comes first in the kind of situation he’s been in, and I’d like to wish him and his wife well for the future.”
It is a sentiment echoed by all at Kenilworth Road following Laura’s June 9th operation to remove the benign tumour – surgery Paddy has thankfully described this week as a success, telling The Times: “We're told that in four to six months, please God, she will be completely back to normal.”
Back home himself after his break in Cornwall, Marriott says is ready and raring for his return to the Hatters’ Ely Way training ground for fitness tests on Friday ahead of pre-season training kicking off on Monday.
The ex-Ipswich Town youngster added: “It’s good to have a little break and recharge the batteries, but I can’t wait to get started because I just want to get back in with the lads.
“You miss the buzz of a matchday and coming to work as a professional footballer for a few weeks, so it’s all systems go from Friday building up to what I hope will be another decent trip to Devon!”