Lancaster skipper in cancer battle

Neil Marshall

Neil Marshall

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Lancaster City captain Neil Marshall is to retire at the end of the season due to an ongoing battle with cancer.

Having fought the illness on and off for five years, the 31-year-old now cannot have any more surgery on his groin, with the Blues stalwart on a course of tablets that could manage his condition for years to come.

Marshall, who has played for his home-town club for more than 10 years, said: “With the tablets I’ve got a gene that can be switched off.

“It’s just they don’t know for how long it will be switched off – it’s different for everybody.

“Some people it’s six to 12 months but the doctor also said she’s got a woman who has been on it for four years.

“It just depends on how it reacts.”

The central defender, who has made more than 400 appearances for City, plans to continue turning out for the Dolly Blues until the season ends in April.

His decision to hang up his boots is more family-orientated, rather than down to his own physical well-being, as he plans to make the most of his time with wife Kim and children Max, four, and Daisy, two.

He said: “I don’t feel any different in myself.

“It’s internal in my groin but it doesn’t restrict my movements or anything.

“I don’t feel any pain when I’m playing, nothing.

“It’s not a physical thing I just want to spend more time with my kids.”

Marshall’s battle started around the time his son was born and it was hoped that the problem had been solved when a mole was removed.

But after further surgery a couple of years ago it has now reached a stage where he cannot go under the knife again.

Marshall, a plumber by trade, said: “It’s incurable but it’s manageable and treatable.

“It’s hard but there’s not much you can do really.

“You try and not think about it a lot but you either get on with it and try and fight it or let it beat you.

“You do have some days where you think about it more but there’s no point thinking about it too much.”

Marshall is expected to take his place in the team on Saturday for City’s league clash against Droylsden at Giant Axe.

Elsewhere in the NPL First Division North, play-off hopefuls Burscough entertain Brighouse Town at Victoria Park.

Clitheroe, who also harbour play-off ambitions, host Spennymoor Town at Shawbridge. Kendal Town are away to Mossley.