Hull keeper David Marshall hoping to get the chance to face idol Victor Valdes
Hull goalkeeper David Marshall hopes to return to the starting line-up at Middlesbrough on Monday to face one of his heroes in Victor Valdes.
Marshall, 31, made way for Eldin Jakupovic in the EFL Cup against Newcastle at the KCOM Stadium on Tuesday night and watched the Swiss keeper save twice in a penalty shoot-out to help the Tigers reach the semi-finals of the competition for the first time.
But Marshall is bidding to be back between the posts at the Riverside to face Middlesbrough's Valdes, who was the Scotland international's goalkeeping idol during his pomp at Barcelona.
"He's outstanding," said Marshall. "I've played against him a few times going back over 10 years now.
"Back at that time he was an idol of mine. Growing up and playing against him after watching him play at the top team in the world at that time..."
Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka said it was a "privilege" to have been able to sign Valdes, 34, on a free transfer from Manchester United in the summer and Marshall is keen to pit his wits against the former Spain international.
"It's good to test yourself against top keepers, playing in this competition," Marshall said. "That's what you want to do."
There have been loud calls from Tigers fans for Jakupovic to be given a run in the Premier League.
Marshall has conceded 21 goals in eight Premier League appearances this season since signing from Cardiff for an undisclosed fee, believed to be around £5million, in September.
Although under increasing pressure to retain his starting place, Marshall insists he was delighted for Jakupovic after his EFL Cup heroics.
When asked if he was just a little bit envious, Marshall replied: "No, of course not.
"As I said, Eldin's saved a penalty at home against Arsenal this season as well so I felt confident going in that he would save at least one.
"Fortunately for us he saved two and the boys struck fantastic penalties to be fair and held their nerve really well.
"At this level there's always going to be three or four keepers at a club, experienced and good enough to go and play, so that's just the standard at every club in the Premier League."
Middlesbrough lie one point above Hull in the table but have lost just one of their last five league games and the significance of a clash against one of the Tigers' closest rivals is not lost on Marshall.
"It's one of those that's a huge game for us. We have to go and put on a performance," he said.
"I think it was a disappointing away game at Sunderland when we lost against another team who you would expect to be down there.
"But Middlesbrough have been on a reasonable run of form. We've been a lot better at home recently, so we're looking to take that confidence into the game on Monday."
And does he expect to be given the nod on Monday? "I hope so yes," he added.
"As I say it can only benefit the club and help to push the goalkeepers on. I will be hoping to play on Monday, but it's the manager's decision."