David eyes more memories with son at his side
Linfield Swifts manager David Dorrian says sharing memorable moments with his son Glenn makes his football journey even more special.
The pair were bursting with pride when the Swifts beat Newington 3-1 in the 2019 Toals Steel and Sons Cup final and are hoping for a similar result when the sides meet again at Seaview tomorrow morning.
There’s a photograph of David and Glenn at Windsor Park with the glittering prize which brings back emotional memories for the Swifts chief.
Glenn (30), who is named after Tottenham legend Glenn Hoddle, isn’t the only man David leans on. He can count on the support of a loyal and talented backroom team.
“It would be a fantastic finish for me to win the trophy after a tough year,” he says.
“I put a lot into the job and rewards are always nice.
“My backroom staff mean a whole lot to me. My son Glenn has been with me forever, he’s a good coach and clever lad. On a matchday he sees things and he knows football, it’s in his blood.
“When we won the Cup the last time, we had our photograph taken with it at Windsor Park and it’s one of my favourite photographs.
“It means a whole lot to me. To do things with your son is special. He’s football mad as were my grandparents and dad. Football has been in me all my life.
“The other guys are also so loyal. I have Ian Crothers, Stuart Boyd and Mark Alexander, as well as goalkeeping coach Andy Bell. They have their own skillset and the players appreciate their support.”
It would be too simplistic to say this final is youth going up against experience but that assessment wouldn’t be too far off the mark.
It’s been a challenging year for David as his side boasting talented teenagers has had to get to grips with physically stronger opponents.
“It’s been a difficult year. I’ve a young team and we have been playing Under-20 football,” explains Dorrian.
“The players are really good but it has been physically challenging. It feels like an Under-16 team. I have 15-year-olds and two 16-year-olds playing at centre-back — Keilan Reid and Josh Briggs.
“They are two fantastic players, really good footballers, but we come up against teams who will kick the ball the length of the pitch.
“I reckon I have lost more games this season than I have in the previous three or four and it’s nothing to do with the quality of the players, it’s their ages and some of the younger lads train with the first team.”
Linfield fans should look out for gifted young striker Callum Marshall, who is inching closer to a move to West Ham.
Josh Archer, Jack Montgomery, Ewan McCoubrey and Conall Murray are promising prospects, while Jake Corbett is returning from injury.
“I never know who I have going into any game because the first team comes first,” admits Dorrian. “But I have an idea of what I would like. Unfortunately, Ross Larkin had to go into hospital for a procedure and we wish him well. The match may be a bit too early for Jake Corbett who is recovering from injury. He played 60 minutes on Monday and we will see who is available.
“Several of our players have enjoyed a taste of first team action this season and the aim for all our players is to follow that same pathway into the first team squad if they possibly can.”
North Belfast side Newington encountered the classy Charlie Allen, Trai Hume and Dale Taylor in 2019. The Swifts will be relying on young guns again but this will be a huge challenge.
“I have watched Newington and they are a big, strong team with experienced players like Richard Gowdy, their leader,” adds Dorrian. “Centre-back Kevin Bradley is strong in the air and you expect a tough game.
“We are young, hopefully quicker and more dynamic but we are against an experienced side. We’ve shown real character in reaching the final, winning one game on penalties and then overcoming Glentoran in a tight game after extra-time.
“Our players are more than capable of playing good football on the Seaview surface, so we are looking forward to giving a good account of ourselves and hopefully winning silverware.”
Swifts forward Gledis Cakaj, meanwhile, told the club’s website he was looking forward to tomorrow’s decider.
“It’s a massive final,” said Cakaj, whose parents are from Albania.
“I always want to be part of the Swifts squad in general, but being a part of this one would be special. You couldn’t find a better way to celebrate Christmas than to win the Steel and Sons Cup on Christmas morning.
“I’ve been in a few finals in the past and won a few trophies in the past, including a treble-winning season, but I can admit that they were nowhere near the same quality and prestige of the Steel and Sons Cup.
“Winning trophies is always a big factor in playing football and winning this one and being part of it would be really special.
“The mood is always great and focused in the Swifts squad for any game, but in these circumstances with a big occasion approaching you can tell how hungry and how much desire there is within the squad as the opportunity to be in the final of this competition is special and it’s a completely different feeling to any other game.”