Belfast Telegraph

Glentoran transfer holds no nerves for hard-working McMullan

By Gareth Hanna

Making the step up to play in the Danske Bank Premiership could easily be cause to jangle a few nerves. Not for Corey McMullan.

The attacking midfielder has joined Glentoran from Championship side Ballyclare Comrades and the 21 year-old is confident he has what it takes to make the leap to the top division.

"Glentoran is an absolutely massive club," he began, already sure of the magnitude of the task before him.

"I was taken aback to get the phone call from Gary (Haveron - Glentoran manager) and he spoke to me about the size of the club but it's not something that I feel nervous about.

"We talked about the things he wanted and how he saw me fitting in at the club. It all sounded like a very good fit. Ballyclare have been very good to me and so has Clifford (Adams), the Ballyclare manager so I wanted to keep him informed of everything before I accepted.

"To be honest though, I had my mind made up by the time Gary finished talking."

McMullan began his NI Football League career with Limavady United in the third tier. A move to the Comrades arrived last summer and it wasn't long before it became evident that the goal-scoring midfielder had potential to go on to greater things.

He netted 13 goals in 32 appearances for Ballyclare, nailing down his spot as the club's top scorer and also winning their Young Player of the Season award in the process. He was a key cog in the side that earned their spot in the promotion play-off, losing out to Institute.

Those statistics have no doubt helped to mould McMullan's confidence - a trait that never strayed towards cockiness as he explained his progression over the last 12 months.

"Last season was the first time I've really experienced being a key player for a club but I didn't feel pressured by it," he said. "I felt I was able to bring other people on and I feel like there is nothing holding me back from doing that again.

"I'm not the finished article or anything myself but Ballyclare appreciated that I work hard and they gave me the confidence to mature as a player."

McMullan could, of course, be pairing up with the man who pipped him to the Northern Ireland Football Writers' Championship Player of the Year award. John McGuigan has joined the Glens from Warrenpoint, a move fully backed by his new midfield team-mate.

"You could see John was a super player when we played against him last season," said McMullan. "I'm looking forward to playing with him next year because you want to play with the best possible and he's top notch. I would rather play with him than against him anyway."

As well as an assured confidence, the other trait that was immediately evident in McMullan's psyche was his penchant for some good old hard graft.

"First of all I want to work hard and then build from that," he explained, grounded in his method. "I will make sure I work hard to get myself involved and to get into the team, because that won't be easy. If I do that, I'll go out to try and be the hardest worker in the team. Hopefully I can sneak a few goals then on top of that.

"I've had a lot of nice messages from the Glentoran supporters but a lot of them won't really know who I am. I want to prove myself to them.

"It's an honour to say I'm a Glentoran player but it's not enough just to be a member of the squad. I coming here to play and I feel that I can get myself into the team."

And that hunger will no doubt serve McMullan well as he embarks on his career in the top tier of Northern Irish football.

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