Belfast Telegraph

David Cushley has staying power as he keeps Ballymena United on form

By Graham Luney

David Cushley has laughed off speculation he is set to leave IBF super-bantamweight United and says he has no desire to quit the club.

The Sky Blues striker is enjoying his football at the moment – and why wouldn't he be after the Braidmen rocketed to the top of the Premiership.

Unbeaten in the top flight so far, scoring goals for fun and sitting pretty at the summit two points clear of champions Cliftonville, you won't be able to wipe the smile off Cushley's face.

But the man himself has been chuckling lately after reading speculation he could be packing his bags soon for a fresh challenge at Portadown.

If the Ports are interested in signing Cushley, whose contract expires at the end of this season, it would hardly be surprising.

In fact boss Ronnie McFall would have to join an orderly queue for the goal-getter who has been his club's top scorer two seasons running.

No doubt McFall can recall when Cushley smashed in a hat-trick in a six-goal demolition of his side at Warden Street last April.

But the pacy frontman is amused by all the transfer speculation, saying: "It's the first I've heard of it."

He added: "I saw messages on Facebook and Twitter and I just thought where is this coming from? People must be making up stories.

"It was the first I heard of it. There was similar speculation last season. I guess it tells me I am doing something right!

"I heard Portadown were going to sign me so when we played Dungannon the following week I joked I was going to join them. Maybe some people have been jumping on a bandwagon and assuming there is something in it.

"The truth is that I'm happy at Ballymena United and enjoying my football under Glenn (Ferguson). I think you just have to block out this type of stuff and concentrate on your game.

"Things are going great for us at the moment and hopefully that can continue. The team is very united and hopefully we can keep the run going."

The Premiership pacesetters visit Glenavon this evening (7.45pm) and you could say the Braidmen owe the Lurgan Blues one after their Irish Cup final heartbreak.

An added incentive then to stay top of the pile this weekend.

There's no doubt the players are brimming with confidence and the team has been given an added spark in attack with the introduction of Matthew Tipton.

Tipton, who was snapped up by 'Spike' after his Linfield exit, netted a brace while Cushley was also on the scoresheet in the 3-0 win at Dungannon.

"I really like playing up front with Matty," adds Cushley. "It's not just his goals and link-up play which is impressive. He talks a lot to me throughout the game as well and that communication is important.

"He is off the mark now on the goalscoring front but we weren't concerned about him not scoring. He was contributing to the team and it was only a matter of time before the goals would come.

"Strikers always want to score but he doesn't need to. Our partnership worked well against Dungannon and hopefully there is much more of that to come."

The Mourneview Park battle is an intriguing one as the Lurgan Blues also have their tails up after a memorable fightback against Cliftonville at Solitude.

Ciaran Martyn's stunning treble pocketed an unlikely point for Gary Hamilton's charges who fought back from 3-1 down.

Expect goals in Lurgan tonight.

"It's a re-run of the cup final and another tough one for us," added Cushley.

"They got a great 3-3 draw at Cliftonville but hopefully we can impose our game on them.

"Regardless of the opposition we just want to keep our unbeaten run going. We will do what we always do which is work hard and do our jobs.

"I think since pre-season training things have been coming together for this side. We are well organised and everyone knows their jobs.

"It's about hard work and preparation. We are all singing from the same hymnsheet and working hard for each other. Our formation seems to be effective and we are a lot harder to break down.

"Although we are top of the league I think we would accept a top four finish and some joy in the cup competitions! I think you have to be ambitious and set high targets.

"For us it's about kicking on and working hard."

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