Belfast Telegraph

Glentoran star Jimmy Callacher on Linfield's wanted list

By Graham Luney

Linfield are considering a January move for Glentoran defender Jimmy Callacher. Glens boss Eddie Patterson is hoping the talented centre-back will extend his stay at the Oval, however, the Belfast Telegraph understands that the Blues are monitoring developments.

Callacher's contract expires at the end of the season so the Blues will be able to open talks with the player in January provided they disclose their interest in the 22-year-old officially in writing to both the Irish FA and Glentoran.

Patterson is keen for the player – who lives close to Windsor Park – to agree fresh terms, but no new deal has been signed yet.

Callacher, who hit the target in the Irish Cup final victory over Cliftonville in May, said yesterday that he was focusing on his football rather than his future.

"September was a bad month for me when I was in and out of the team and I wanted to get involved again," said Callacher who joined the Glens as a 13-year-old.

"What the future holds for me I don't know yet – I'm focusing on helping the team at the minute.

"There's still about six months left in the season so there is plenty of time for my future to be decided.

"We will wait and see. I'm determined to keep playing well for Glentoran and stay in the team."

Patterson has marshalled his troops magnificently after experienced players Sean Ward and Andy Waterworth left for Windsor Park in the summer.

Callacher's exit would represent another blow, but the Glens boss is also waiting to see if Richard Clarke and Jay Magee will agree fresh deals.

But while the future of some players is still to be determined, the Oval faithful are excited by the news that gifted young winger Jordan Stewart is going nowhere after signing a two-and-a-half year contract.

Callacher added: "Jordan may look like a ball-boy, but he's maturing all the time.

"I know him very well because he lives just two doors down from me!

"He's a good friend of mine, a very talented young player and a credit to himself and his family."

The Glens, now unbeaten in five league matches, head to Stangmore Park tomorrow to face Dungannon Swifts.

September blues are beginning to fade as the new look Glens grow in confidence.

Callacher is one of the young aces showing their class and he's confident the Irish Cup winners can defend the glittering prize and push for a European spot.

"We will have a good go at retaining that trophy," said Callacher.

"Glentoran are a club that should be in Europe and we will try to make it again.

"They are tough games in this league and you can't look too far ahead, but we are in better shape now than earlier in the season.

"We are sitting joint third in the league and if we can put a good run together we can finish high up the table.

"The players have shown a lot of character to get moving in the right direction and the indications are we can keep it up."

The defender, who had a loan spell at Dungannon Swifts earlier in his career, is relieved the Glens are over their rocky spell.

"I don't think we won a league game in September and we were all anxious to put that really bad run behind us," he added.

"I looked at Linfield and what they achieved – going from bottom of the table to the top and it was an example of what could be achieved. It is a very tight league and a few wins can catapult you to the top."

Glentoran have also shown their mettle on the road by winning at Warrenpoint Town, Coleraine and Ballymena United.

"They are tough places to get a result," said Callacher.

"Particularly at Ballymena against a side that has done well against us.

"Only Elliott Morris and Jason Hill have been over the age of 24 in some teams so this young side is doing well.

"There is a good balance in the side and the players have belief in one another.

"Jordan Stewart has been hitting the headlines, but guys like Kevin Bradley, Calum Birney and Marcus Kane are doing very well.

"It's a young team but a confident team and I'm focused on staying fit and contributing to a successful season."

Callacher has experienced the full range of emotions at Glentoran.

Winning the Irish Cup and scoring in the final was his sweetest moment, but it was a very different story when Newington stunned the Glens in the same competition in January, 2012.

The Oval faithful are hoping he will be wearing the green, red and black jersey for many more years, but if no deal is finalised, Linfield will lead the chase for his signature.

Glens chief Eddie Patterson was unavailable for comment yesterday.

Belfast Telegraph


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