Belfast Telegraph

I want to see Morris fit and well says 'Doc'

CIS Insurance Cup

By Chris Holt

Glentoran goalkeeper Michael Dougherty has welcomed the return of the man who will rival him for the number one spot.

Elliott Morris has fully recovered from a fractured jaw, picked up in an accidental clash with Chris Morgan in training during pre-season and will play some part in a reserve game today as part of his comeback.

However, he is unlikely to be thrust back into the team once he regains his sharpness, such has been the form of Dougherty during Morris' spell on the sidelines.

While 'Doc' knows that he will now have to keep up those impressive displays with the former Northern Ireland under-21 international breathing down his neck, the 27-year-old stopper believes that the competition is best for all concerned.

"I'm delighted that Elliott is back and ready to play again," said Dougherty, who will return to one of his old clubs, Lisburn Distillery, for today's CIS Insurance Cup clash at Ballyskeagh.

"As well as being a team-mate, he is a good friend and I was gutted for him when he picked up the injury.

"Now he is fit again, I will have to keep pushing myself to play at my best to make sure that I stay in the team.

" I know just how good Elliott is, I see him as being up there as one of the best goalkeepers in the Irish League, so if I do lose my place I will find it very difficult to get back into the team.

"It is competition like that, that keeps me on my toes and it is the same right throughout the team.

"No one is safe. The manager has made a point of saying to us that if you are playing well you will stay in the team. If you lose form, you are out and there are players in every position ready to come in and take your place.

"You could see that in the team that the Gaffer selected last week.

"We had Chris Morgan, Rory Hamill, Gary Smyth, Jason Hill and Michael Ward on the bench - that's a lot of quality to be on the sidelines so it shows you how much depth we have in the squad.

"It's obviously no different for the goalkeepers and I think it is good for me, Elliott and the team generally to be battling it out for that spot.

"It makes you work harder in training and obviously in games too so everyone is benefiting. "

Dougherty had a pretty quiet afternoon last Saturday as the Glens hit six without reply against Armagh City in the season's opener at the Oval.

However, having played for the Whites for two seasons, the east Belfast man knows that he will have to be on his guard for this game.

"Distillery are a good team - and I am actually expecting this to be a really good game," he added.

"We played some really good, attacking football last week and Paul Kirk always has his teams playing like that.

"To be fair we played Armagh last week on a day when they had a lot of players out and then lost Chris Walker early on with an injury.

"Distillery is going to be completely different. They are good at the back and in midfield with players like Ryan McCann and Andy Kilmartin.

"Up front though I think they are a real threat. Darren Armour is still one of the most dangerous strikers in the league and they have also signed Gary Browne as well.

"I saw last year what Browner can do in training and if he can do that on the pitch then I am going to be very busy.

"It's up to us to stop them though and we have been strong at the back recently so we will look after ourselves."


From Belfast Telegraph