Dungannon Swifts boss Darren Murphy has tipped Jonny Curran to fill the huge gap left by Niall Morgan’s looming departure from the club.
Today’s basement battle against Lisburn Distillery is expected to be Morgan’s last in a Swifts jersey before he leaves Stangmore Park to link up with the Tyrone GAA squad.
His exit leaves Murphy with a major headache going into the second half of the season.
But the Dungannon boss is confident that Curran (26) can make the step up to be first choice goalkeeper in the coming weeks.
“Losing Niall is obviously a big blow, but I am fortunate in that I have a very good replacement in Jonny Curran,” said Murphy.
“I have no worries at all about putting him into the team.
“Any time Jonny has played for Dungannon he has not let me down. He played in the Irish Cup semi-final last season and at the start of this season too.”
However, Murphy is still aiming to sign another goalkeeper in the January window.
“You need to have competition,” he added. “One of the reasons Niall has performed so well is that he knows Jonny is there and ready to take his place.”
Morgan has been one of Dungannon’s most impressive and consistent performers since claiming the goalkeeper’s jersey at the start of the 2011/12 campaign.
But last month the 21-year-old revealed he was quitting Irish League football to realise his dreams of playing for the Tyrone GAA team.
He is one of 14 new faces named in Mickey Harte’s panel for the new term. Morgan has admitted it was an agonising decision to leave Dungannon.
“It was probably the most difficult decision of my life,” he said. “Everyone says you have to choose at some stage, and it is unfortunate it’s come this way.
“It was hard to choose between the two but you only get once chance to play for your county.”
Meanwhile, Murphy has kick-started his January transfer dealings by landing striker James Costello from Ballymena. The 26-year-old has signed an 18-month contract.
“James is a big, strong, powerful centre forward who can hold the ball up well,” Murphy added.
“He is very direct and has bags of pace. He also has plenty of experience playing in the Irish Premier League.”