Gormley can hit the big time, says Winchester
Jude Winchester believes Joe Gormley has the class to be a smash hit across the water.
Gormley has blossomed into the Irish League's most lethal finisher but so far a professional deal has eluded him.
His former sidekick, Liam Boyce, has earned senior international recognition and a move to Scottish Premier League side Ross County but the Reds goal machine hasn't been offered a ticket to the big time.
At the age of 25, you would think it's now or never for the Ardoyne man as he clings to his dream of making it in England or Scotland. The reigning Ulster Footballer of the Year has carried on where he left off last season, scoring goals for fun and Boyce's exit has not caused the Solitude men harm, due mainly to the efficient link-up play of new signing Davy McDaid.
Former Linfield player Winchester, who was handed a two-year deal at Solitude after impressing during a loan spell from Scottish side Kilmarnock, has no doubt Gormley could cut it at a higher level.
"I think Joe is ready for that move now and he is capable of doing it," said Winchester. "Teams should be looking at him as his goalscoring record is phenomenal. He broke the 100 mark this season and he's one of those players who will score goals if given the chance across the water. He'll be playing with better quality players and that means he'll get more chances to score. I just hope he does get the chance because he deserves it."
Given Winchester's experience in the full-time game in Scotland, his views on Gormley are worth listening to.
"Joe is different class," he added. "He was born to score goals.
"The team spirit is great here, we have a great bunch of boys and whoever is asked to do a job does it well. People might criticise Davy McDaid saying he doesn't score enough but look at the space he gets into and the goals he sets up for Joe. That's an unbelievable partnership and Joe has scored more this season than this time a year ago so Liam's departure hasn't hurt us.
"It's just impossible for everyone to get a game at the same time. The team is winning and that makes it hard for Tommy (Breslin) to change it.
"But the talent in our dressing room is incredible and we have the talent to win everything. It will take hard work and dedication but hopefully we can push on and win silverware."
The Reds, who travel to Glentoran today, now have two finals in January to occupy their thoughts as Bangor await in the County Antrim Shield decider and Ballymena United provide the opposition in the Wasp Solutions League Cup final.
"We are doing really well and hopefully come January we will be confident going into those finals," added Winchester.
"I know people will say we scored seven goals against United but you can never take anything for granted in this game and they'll not let that happen again. Bangor will have the same attitude and anything can happen in a cup final.
"You need to approach every game as if it's a big one."