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Steven Douglas working on a plan to stop red-hot Joe Gormley

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Challenge: Steven Douglas will have his hands full playing against Joe Gormley

Challenge: Steven Douglas will have his hands full playing against Joe Gormley

Darren Kidd /Presseye.com

Challenge: Steven Douglas will have his hands full playing against Joe Gormley

Steven Douglas has admitted that he doesn't know how Coleraine will go about stopping Cliftonville's red-hot striker Joe Gormley tomorrow afternoon.

He's not alone there as no defence in the Danske Bank Premiership is safe when the Solitude ace is around.

Gormley is on fire at present. He scored 11 goals in November alone and has netted 12 times in his last seven matches, helping the Reds go to the top of the table in the process.

Add in the goals that have helped Tommy Breslin's side into the final of the County Antrim Shield and semi finals of the Wasp Solutions League Cup and you understand why he is the hottest striker in the country at present, with 21 goals to his name already this season.

Coleraine are next in the firing line and Douglas, who is still going strong at 37-years-old, is hoping that his manager can help him deal with Cliftonville's 25-year-old shooting star, who has been dubbed 'Joe the Goal.'

"How do you stop Joe Gormely? I don't know. I really don't know. I just hope that Oran Kearney has a plan up his sleeve," said Douglas.

"The thing is you can't just look at him as the man to shut down, hey have David McDaid, who was with us at the start of the season, who is scoring goals and playing very well too.

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"Together they are a handful and we'll just have to make sure that we concentrate for the full 90 minutes. Against a player like him one lapse in concentration could be costly."

Douglas has won league championship medals with both Portadown and Linfield, during which time he played alongside the likes of Vinny Arkins, Gary Hamilton, Peter Thompson and Glenn Ferguson.

In an Irish League career spanning more than 15 years, Douglas has also come up against some of the best strikers to grace our game and he believes Gormley is already in that bracket.

"He's right up there in terms of his goalscoring ability," said Douglas.

"You can see that he has a confidence about him in front of goal, he oozes it and if he doesn't score himself there is every chance he'll set one up for someone else.

"I thought that both Gormley himself and the Cliftonville team lost a bit at the start of the season after Liam Boyce left, but he has come back well and over the last couple of months he has shown that he is a top class striker."

Despite recognising Gormley's undoubted quality, there is no question of fear creeping into Douglas' mind ahead of tomorrow's clash at the Showgrounds.

Not only is he is far too long in the tooth for that, Douglas is full of confidence in the team mates around him, even though the Bannsiders have lost three-in-a-row.

"Cliftonville are on fire, but they aren't unbeatable, just a look at a few weeks ago when they lost to Crusaders," said Douglas.

"We beat them at Solitude earlier in the season and played very well that day, now we're at home and I would take anyone at home at the minute.

"We've lost the last couple of games, but it hasn't shaken our confidence.

"We are still upbeat and look at what we were up against - Crusaders away and Linfield away, not many teams will pick up points at those grounds.

"We'll stand up to any team and we felt very unfortunate not to get something out of last Saturday's match against Linfield.

"Even Andy Waterworth admitted that Linfield got out of jail and anyone who didn't think that we deserved something is lying."

Calling a winner in the title race is impossible according to Douglas, in a fight for the Gibson Cup that he describes as 'mental.'

He just wishes that he was involved in it, but is happy that Coleraine are moving in the right direction.

"I still want to win every week and I am still enjoying myself - I'm probably enjoying things more this season than I was last season," said Douglas.

"I don't train a lot, Oran just has me doing what I need to do in order to be fresh, yet sharp for the weekend.

"I was disappointed with how we ended up last year. I thought we had a better squad last year than we do now, but this year we have knitted together much better.

"I think the introduction of Neil McCafferty had played a big part in that.

"He has been a big help to Ruari Harkin, who has played really well in a new role and the two of them have been good for each other."


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