Glentoran boss Alan McDonald has told fans to be patient with new striker Andrew Waterworth as he gets used to life back in the JJB Sports Premiership.
The Northern Ireland Under-21 international has yet to find the net since his high-profile move from Hamilton before the transfer window closed and suddenly his place in the team has come under scrutiny.
When Waterworth first arrived, it was Michael Halliday who was forced to settle for a place on the bench as McDonald went with the new boy and Gary Hamilton as his dream ticket up front.
However, with Waterworth firing blanks, Halliday has stepped up to the plate and has scored five goals in his last three games — including a double against tonight’s opponents, Ballymena United (7.45pm, at the Oval) and another couple against Linfield in the Setanta Sports Cup.
Having forked out to bring Waterworth to the club, McDonald is understandably loath to drop him to the bench but he does admit that no player is guaranteed a place, as Gary Hamilton — the league’s most potent striker — found out on Saturday as he started the win over Coleraine from the dug-out.
The boss knows that in Waterworth he has a player of undoubted talent and he wants him to be given time to settle in, but McDonald realises that the striker will have to find the net soon.
“He’s had a difficult few weeks with what was going on at Hamilton and the uncertainty over his future and talking to certain clubs but we have got to be patient with Andy,” he said.
“He’s had a lot of upset and uncertainty in his life recently but it will come. There us no doubt about his quality.
“(But) if the players are in the team and playing well then there is no comeback. If they are in the team and they are not playing well and someone else is playing well then that’s something that has to be dealt with.”
“Some players sometimes don’t perform well under extreme pressure and it goes into negativity and then becomes a problem. So it might be a case of at some stage, taking them out of the limelight and take the pressure off them.”
Ballymena United boss Roy Walker would love to have a dilemma as to who to chose between Hamilton, Halliday and Waterworth.
His side went to the Oval a couple of weeks ago and were hit for six by the rampant Glens in the Co Antrim Shield. The Sky Blues are yet to win in the league this season, but McDonald isn’t taking the previous game or their current position into consideration.
“Ballymena will be hurting very badly down there with the way they have started — I know Roy Walker, and I know Roy will be hurting,” he said.
“Automatically in football people will draw comparisons and obviously we played and beat them very convincingly a couple of weeks ago. That counts for nothing come (tonight). Our players will be totally focused on going out to play Ballymena and Ballymena will be up for it. They will be going out to avenge what happened a couple of weeks ago, so we have to be on full metal.”