Morris and Waterworth can stake their claims
Glentoran boss Alan McDonald has challenged his two Co-operative Insurance Cup heroes to keep hold of their places after making impressive returns to the starting line-up.
Tuesday night’s goalscorer against Portadown, Andy Waterworth, turned in one of his best displays in quite some time while goalkeeper Elliott Morris made two superb saves at crucial moments in the game to keep the Glens in front.
For both players it’s been a difficult season — Waterworth has struggled to make it into the team and has had to settle for a regular place on the bench while Morris has made more mistakes this term than at any time in his Oval career and he, too, has found himself on the sidelines.
However, both were drafted in for the Windsor Park showdown following a poor display by the Glens in their defeat by Coleraine last Saturday.
And having taken their chance, McDonald wants to be put into a position where he is forced to have them in his team.
“Andy scored a great goal that he made himself and Elliott made two great saves one just before half time and another near the end and both showed the type of form I want to see.
“There were two trains of thought on team selection. I made a couple of changes, just to freshen things up a bit — and I could have made more changes,” said McDonald. “But I didn’t want to be headstrong.
“The nice, and horrible, problem I have at this moment in time is that — touch wood — I have a full strength squad.
“It’s not just a case of getting into the team at the moment, it’s about getting in the squad. We have Kyle Neil playing for the seconds, Michael Halliday was put off the bench on Saturday and this time (against Portadown) it was Richard Clarke who was left out.
“The one thing we must have is competition and the players know that competition is fierce.”
He added: “I have said to all the squad, it’s quite simple from my point of view, if the players are in the team and playing well and the team’s winning then it’s easy for me. It stays the same.
“All I have been striving for is consistency in personal performance, in team performance and consistency in results.
“I want people coming in, they aren’t shouting and screaming but they are saying ‘what about me?’ I say, ‘yes, if you get your chance, take it.’
“There will be no-one happier than me for whoever is in the team to remain in the team.”