BLACKBURN Rovers boss Gary Bowyer believes winger Ben Marshall is the perfect example of the flexibility his squad now boasts.
With Rudy Gestede away on international duty and Chris Brown suffering from a knock the fit-again Marshall was given the chance to impress in the No 10 role during last week’s warm-weather training camp in Portugal.
And that came after the 23-year-old, whose last competitive appearance came on January 25, played right back in Rovers’ pre-season opener at AFC Telford United.
But Bowyer insists Marshall is not the only player at Ewood Park who can operate in a number of different positions.
And that gives the Rovers chief confidence his squad is now adaptable enough to cope with a gruelling 46-game Championship campaign.
Bowyer, who was hit by a number of injury problems last season, said: “What we have got now is a group of lads who can play in various positions – and that is a very appealing trait.
“Ben Marshall, for example, played right back at Telford and in training played in the No 10 position – and there aren’t many players who can do that.
“But he can and that type of flexibility will be massive for us this season.
“But he’s not the only one. Alex Baptiste can do it, Matt Kilgallon can do it, Jason Lowe can do it, Luke Varney can do it, Chris Taylor can do, Tom Cairney can do it.
“Then we’ve got players who can play on both flanks and it shows the depth in terms of flexibility that we’ve now got – and I think that is going to be vital.”
Gestede missed the training camp in Portugal after being called up to play in Benin’s Africa Cup of Nations second-round first-leg qualifying 1-0 victory over Malawi on Sunday.
The forward helped set up Stephane Sessegnon’s 18th-minute winner before being substituted in the 76th minute.
Gestede will return to Brockhall in the morning.
But he will take no part in tomorrow night’s friendly at Accrington Stanley.
Gestede will come into consideration for Saturday’s trip to Bradford City before meeting back up with the Benin squad to prepare for the second leg in Malawi on August 2.
Should Benin make it through to the final stage of qualification then all of their matches would take place during the sanctioned international breaks in September, October and November.
By that stage Rovers hope to have moved on transfer-listed strikers Leon Best and Jordan Slew.
Best has been linked with a move back to Sheffield Wednesday, where he spent the final three months of last season on loan, while Port Vale are keen on a temporary deal for Slew.
But the League One outfit have so far not been able to strike a deal with Rovers with regards to their wage contribution and Slew is now attracting fresh interest from clubs in Scotland.
The 21-year-old spent the second half of last season on loan at Scottish Premiership side Ross County.