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Welders can deliver another hammer blow, insists McLellan

Michael's warning for Glenavon

By Graeme Luney

Published 09/01/2016

Goal-den boy: Michael McLellan is ready to rock Glenavon in the Irish Cup
Goal-den boy: Michael McLellan is ready to rock Glenavon in the Irish Cup

H&W Welders goal machine Michael McLellan is determined to dish out another dose of Irish Cup pain to Glenavon.

The east-Belfast minnows dumped Gary Hamilton's men - then Cup holders - out of the tournament last season and there is every chance of lightning striking twice if McLellan brings his shooting boots to Tillysburn today (1.30pm).

Despite scoring 26 goals this season, the former Ashfield pupil argues he "hasn't had the best of runs", pointing to a knee injury earlier in the campaign and a two-game suspension.

Last season he found the back of the net on 48 occasions and the 22-year-old is loving life with the Championship One side.

Second in the table behind Ards, Gary Smyth's troops have just lifted the Steel and Sons Cup and the Lurgan Blues will fear another knockout blow.

"I'm really enjoying my football here and winning the Steel and Sons Cup was special, after what we went through, losing the previous year's final," said the Sydenham sharp-shooter. "We didn't do ourselves justice then but this was an opportunity to put things right. It's good to get that gold medal!

"I was at Portadown and Ballymena United but I have put those experiences out of my head because they aren't great memories.

"I felt I should have been given more of a chance but it didn't turn out the way I hoped. My relationship with Ronnie (McFall) was not the best and while I could talk with Spike (Glenn Ferguson) it didn't work out at Ballymena.

"I blank out those experiences but the Welders have given me a chance to show what I can do and Gary (Smyth) has shown faith in me. I just want to keep scoring goals for them.

"Gary is the best manager I have had since a very young age. Obviously we want to win matches for ourselves and the team but we want to win for Gary as well.

"We are playing good football and Gary knows what my strengths are. I want to score goals for him, the club and myself. But as well as Gary being a great manager, the coaching team including Alan Nixon and Ian Dornan are fantastic."

McLellan's finishing power has sparked persistent rumours he could return to the Premiership stage but the striker is focused on enjoying this chapter of his career.

He added: "People ask me when am I moving back to the Premiership with another club but I just want to enjoy my football and that's the case. I'd love to play for the Welders in the Premiership.

"You never want to go to another club and then not feature. The ideal scenario for me is to play for the Welders in the top flight."

Smyth's men knocked Glentoran out of the County Antrim Shield in September and on their own patch they are expected to make Glenavon sweat in this fifth-round tussle.

"Whoever we play, in whatever competition, we go out to win and we won't sit back and be afraid of anyone," added McLellan.

"There's a big family at the Welders, a great spirit in the camp and we want to fight for each other. We can take great confidence from our win over Glenavon last season and Ballymena needed a late winner to beat us.

"We don't need the extra motivation of beating a Premiership side, we know we are capable of that."

Belfast Telegraph

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