Mannus Worthy of Ulster award
Published 25/04/2008 | 09:26
Alan Mannus last night put what he called the best season of his career down in no small part to being a regular member of the Northern Ireland squad.
And after being named Castlereagh Glentoran Supporters Club Ulster Footballer of the Year, the Linfield goalkeeper is hoping to be part of two presentation ceremonies tomorrow afternoon.
Mannus was the top choice of the voting panel, with team-mates Peter Thompson and Michael Gault unable to be separated in second place.
The Windsor Park number one will receive his trophy before the league game with Crusaders at Seaview tomorrow and he is planning to get his hands on the Gibson Cup after the final whistle.
"I was a bit shocked when I got the call to tell me that I had won the award and I feel very proud," said Mannus.
"I feel within myself that this has been the best season of my career. I am a better goalkeeper now that before and I have been able to show that when I have played.
"Being involved in the Northern Ireland squad has been a big thing for me. I was in a couple of squads before this season, but it is only under Nigel Worthington that I have been a regular.
"If it hadn't been for that I think things would have been different for me, but I have worked with Maik Taylor and Michael McGovern and been coached by Fred Barber. It is a great experience for me to be in the Northern Ireland squad and I am learning all the time when I am there.
"At Linfield I am coached by Alan Simpson and he has been a real help and encouragement to me since he came to the club as well."
Mannus has kept a hugely impressive 19 clean sheets in 29 league games so far. One more and Linfield will be guaranteed the Irish Premier League title and they only need to collect a point at Seaview to absolutely confirm their 48th Championship.
"We have come all this way and there is no way we want to let anything slip by losing our focus now," said Mannus.
"We approach every game knowing that if we aren't 100 per cent then any team is capable of beating us and Crusaders are as capable of doing that as anyone else.
"We won't go looking for a draw, we will go looking for three points because that is the Linfield way.
"As long as the two clubs agree I will be getting the Player of the Year award before the game and hopefully there will be another presentation for the team afterwards."