AFC Bournemouth: Pugh forced to lift himself off canvas to score big points victory (From Bournemouth Echo)
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AFC Bournemouth: Pugh forced to lift himself off canvas to score big points victory
ON the ropes after being cast off as a lightweight, Marc Pugh has come out fighting to prove he can mix it with the Championship’s big boys.
Released by hometown club Burnley seven years ago, Pugh has been rewarded for sticking to his footballing principles during what has been a fruitful and eventful stay with Cherries.
And while the man who chose not to keep him on at Turf Moor was among the crowd to see Pugh’s goal sink Barnsley on Tuesday, the winger says he bears no grudge towards Steve Cotterill.
Former Cherries striker Cotterill, who showed Pugh the door when he was 19, managed the Clarets between 2004 and 2007 and was at Dean Court as a guest summariser for BBC Radio Yorkshire.
Pugh, who has scored twice in seven Championship appearances this season, told the Daily Echo: “It was heartbreaking at the time but he may have done me a huge favour in the long run. I was a local lad and a Burnley supporter. It had been my dream to play for them.
“I had progressed through the ranks under Stan Ternent and had been on the bench a couple of times as a 16 and 17-year-old. I had a really good final year and had scored a lot of goals playing as a striker in the youth team.
“I felt I had been in Stan’s plans and the change of manager didn’t help my cause at all. I was told I wasn’t physical enough. I felt I was quite strong, I had conscientiously been doing my weights programme and had been playing well.
“It was really frustrating and a real kick in the teeth at the time. I was upset when it happened but have never been bitter about it. I feel as though I have proved myself during my career and want to continue to do so.
“Burnley was a big club in those days and I could have spent two or three more years there and not even played in the first team. I was just a young lad coming through and they were on the up. I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason.”
Farmed out to Kidderminster Harriers for a spell of work experience during his time at Burnley, Pugh was soon picked up by Shrewsbury before joining Cherries from Hereford in 2010 with a tribunal’s decision to value him at £100,000 good business for the Dorset club.
“Shrewsbury were going places under Gary Peters and there was a really good feel about the club,” said Pugh. “We did reasonably well in my first season and just missed out on the play-offs.
“But another change of manager again cost me. Paul Simpson came in and brought his son to play on the wing. It was one of those things and I was forced out. I went on loan to Hereford before it was made permanent. I scored three goals in two games against Bournemouth and twisted the manager’s arm to sign me!
“I have been very fortunate to have fitted in with the manager’s plans during his two spells here. It is all about opinions and, if the manager doesn’t fancy you, it is never going to work no matter how good you are.
“I have seen players get on who aren’t brilliant technically and I have seen them fall by the wayside. Some managers love physically strong players and others don’t. Opinions make the game what it is and that’s what we all love about it.”
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