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Papa Johns Trophy

Papa John's Trophy Final: 'No room for complacency,' says Marquis

12 March 2021

Portsmouth striker John Marquis says there is no room for complacency ahead of the 2020 Papa John’s Trophy Final against Salford City on Saturday afternoon.

With Pompey representing Sky Bet League One and the Ammies a division below, there is the possibility of a giant-killing at Wembley, but Marquis is keen to ensure that doesn’t happen. 

“We know that we have to turn up and be at our best if we want to have any chance of a result, we cannot go into this game thinking that we’re going to turn up and win,” he said. 

“They have changed players and have a new manager as well, they are a very good side and we will be taking them seriously, there is no doubt about that.

“I’m expecting it to be a good match, because of some of the players they have in their dressing room. They have a lot of experience and they’re playing for a team that are playing at the top end of League Two.

“They have that winning mentality that all teams want, so neither team are going there and just thinking ‘it’s nice to be here’. We’re here to win and we have to make sure we leave there with the Trophy.

It was Marquis who scored the winner in their Semi-Final victory over Exeter City back in February 2020, netting a 96th-minute winner in a crazy game at Fratton Park. 

The Grecians looked like they would be heading to the capital after leading 2-1 in the closing stages of the affair. But a stunning goal from Cameron McGeehan and a last-gasp header from Marquis flipped the tie on its head and sent the holders through for another shot at glory at the National Stadium. 

He added: “We booked our place in the Final in dramatic fashion, it was a great game for a neutral, considering it was pretty eventless until the last 20 minutes or so. After that, it was pretty much like a game of basketball from there.

“We went behind twice and when they go 2-1 up, you think the game is gone, but to score two goals in stoppage time was surreal.

“To score that winning goal that night was an unreal feeling, I remember saying to the lads on the pitch that night that there is going to be another chance in this game.

“We just had to believe in ourselves, and if we did get another chance that we could take it. Thankfully, I was in the right place at the right time and we took it.

This could be the first time that the 28-year-old gets the chance to play at Wembley Stadium, after missing out on the Millwall squad that played Wigan Athletic in the 2013 FA Cup Semi-Final. 

With starting up top for Pompey on Saturday a real possibility for Marquis, he says playing in the game will be one of the biggest moments in his career. 

“To walk out at Wembley will be a special moment for myself and my family, and a moment that I will not forget in my career,” Marquis explained. 

“I just have to go out there and make sure it is remembered for the right reason, so I can come home with a winner’s medal around my neck. If I can score as well, that will be an added bonus.

“These are the moments you live for as a footballer, the high-pressure games. It is a one off-game and that is what cup finals come down to; no matter how much preparation you do, it’s all about how you approach things on the day.”

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