Belfast Telegraph

'Batman Frazer does it again': Why Jonny isn't content with current superhero status at Glentoran

Glentoran's Jonny Frazer has been given a superhero nickname by the boss.
Glentoran's Jonny Frazer has been given a superhero nickname by the boss.
Gareth Hanna

By Gareth Hanna

You would have imagined the voice a little more husky, the build a few inches taller and the cape to be brought out at least occasionally.

Regardless, it appears Batman has been hiding away at the Oval this season in the rather unassuming guise of Jonny Frazer.

The 23-year-old attacker has neither a Premiership start nor a league goal to his name since arriving at Glentoran in the summer but there's little doubting he has been key to keeping the club's recent resurgence going.

In the last two outings, Frazer has turned each game by winning key fouls.

The first was a last gasp penalty to send the Irish Cup tie with Portadown into extra time. The Glens went on to win on penalties but only after Frazer's goal cancelled out the Ports' in the additional 30 minutes.

Then on Saturday, Frazer was again the man brought down when Warrenpoint goalkeeper Mark Byrne was sent off, Glentoran going on to turn a 1-0 deficit into a winning 2-1 lead within six minutes.

While there may have been doubt on both occasions over the decisions to award the fouls, there was no argument that it was Frazer's tenacity that asked the questions of the match officials.

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"Batman," smiled a typically enthused manager Mick McDermott, to a quizzical look from the reporter.

"Batman flies in, fixes things and flies out again," he explained. "That's Jonny. He's not around all the time but he flies in when there's a crisis and he fixes it. Batman Frazer does it again."

In truth, Frazer would rather he didn't have to wait for the signal to shine on the clouds above the Oval.

"Nobody wants to be known as a supersub, everybody wants to start and I'm no different," he said.

"I'm just trying to help the team and do what I can. Obviously I want to be starting but if that's my role at the minute then I'll just do whatever I can.

"I can't really make any complaints. We're so many games unbeaten so it's hard to say too much about not getting in the starting team. The boys have been playing so well."

McDermott admits he's 'delighted' with his summer recruit's (super)heroic progress and did confirm that the opportunity to increase his influence is coming.

But if that's Frazer's immediate aim, there's also a longer term goal at play.

In his words, his release from Linfield in 2017 effectively meant he had been deemed 'not good enough' after five and a half years with the club.

Frazer was released by Linfield in 2017, but not before scoring 10 goals for the Swifts during the victorious Steel and Sons Cup campaign, including a hat-trick in the semi-final.

An 18-month spell at Ards followed with, aged 21, a first extended spell of regular senior football.

On returning from a short spell in Australia, Frazer was snapped up by McDermott during the summer.

Now he's hoping he can prove that Linfield's loss is very much their rivals' gain.

"I want to have a great career at a top club and win trophies," he esaid.

"I just want to be at the same place for the next five, six, seven years and win trophies. I want to be an impactful player at a top club and I'm hoping this will be the place I'm able to do that because I'm really enjoying it. I have a great connection with the club and the fans already and I haven't even been here that long.

"I'm loving it here. Even apart from the results, it's a great place to be around. Mick and Windy (Paul Millar) have made everything very positive. We've got the new gym and there's a really professional setup.

"Hopefully I can keep pushing on and stay for a long time. We haven't won anything yet and the end goal is to win some trophies."

BT Software Engineering Manager by day, Frazer is putting the hard work into his on-field efforts by night, doing extra sessions on his own to make up for the added time the full-time players can dedicate.

One of those professionals, of course, is star midfielder Hrvoje Plum.

With his 13 goals from midfield, including six free-kicks, this season, the Croatian has become a quickfire fans' favourite at the Oval.

That position was only strengthened during Saturday's win over Warrenpoint as it was Plum who teed up Robbie McDaid for the leveller before curling home a free-kick winner.

"He just didn't want to pass me the ball though, he could have had a few for me," laughed Frazer.

"Hrvoje's top class. He does it regularly. Even though he had missed a few tofday,. you know when he gets that ball there's a threat. I had a feeling he was going to put it in the top corner and he did it again.

"He makes an impact every time he plays. He's a great guy to have about the place but he just has to work on passing it through to me when I make those runs."

As a result, the wait for both a first Premiership start and goal goes on for Jonny Frazer.

The 23-year-old is taking the initial steps to fulfilling both short and long-term goals but until then, he'll have to wait for Commissioner McDermott to send the signal once again.

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