David Platt last night revealed the secret behind Leon Knight’s decision to stay at Coleraine.
The striker had been set to fly out of Belfast yesterday morning and sign a deal with Walsall, saying goodbye to the Bannsiders.
Instead of facing Bristol Rovers this afternoon, Knight will be looking to continue his blistering form in the blue and white when Platt’s team takes on Dungannon Swifts.
His amazing turnaround — pledging his future to the Irish League until the summer of 2012 rather than League One in England — is down to the impression that has been left on the 28-year-old since joining Coleraine in October.
“Leon could have left Coleraine on Thursday night and gone somewhere else for a lot more money, but I think he’s learnt from things that have happened to him in the past and he’s putting happiness first,” said Platt.
“We don’t go out of our budget for anyone and we haven’t gone out of our budget for Leon Knight.
“We have to look after our own finances because we don’t have a third party backing us financially either, like some clubs do.
“Leon’s been playing with a smile on his face since he came to Coleraine, he gets on very well with everyone, he’s built up a great relationship with the fans and the feeling of being wanted has persuaded him to stay.
“Signing him in the first place was a massive coup for the club, keeping him for another 18 months is even bigger.
“Leon believes in what we are trying to do. He can see that we’re not far away from challenging for a top six place and going on a cup run.”
Coleraine are six points off that coveted spot in the top six of the Carling Premiership and with 11 games to go before the split and Knight on board there is every chance that they can force their way into the top half.
While Knight stays, the Bannsiders have released defender Paddy McLaughlin who has suffered from limited first-team opportunities this season.