Coleraine boss David Platt has admitted he has another “big decision” to make in the life of Rory Patterson.
The goalscoring sensation could miss Saturday’s Co-operative Insurance Cup final with Glentoran after losing his first team place for a breach of discipline.
Patterson was left out of the team that were held 1-1 by Dungannon Swifts on Tuesday night after clashing with a team-mate in Friday's league defeat by Portadown. Platt, who has kept faith with the Northern Ireland international despite the player agreeing a pre-contract deal with Glentoran, will now have to decide whether to recall his hotshot for the showpiece game.
Leaving Patterson out of the Windsor showdown would represent a huge gamble for the Bannsiders supremo but he isn’t afraid to make it.
“I’m the only one who knows whether Rory will play on Saturday and that’s the way it will stay until Saturday,” said Platt. “He may or he may not. Of course it’s a big decision for me to make. I’m big enough to make that decision and I was big enough to make that decision last night (Tuesday).
“There is a long time between now and Saturday but there is a lot more to this game than Rory. We have shown that without Rory we are a capable football team.
“Glentoran will be missing Andy Waterworth. That’s what happens when players are missing through suspension, injury or another reason. Someone else can do the job. If Rory plays he will have a job to do, if not someone else will get his chance. Watch this space.”
Platt’s failure to state that Patterson would definitely miss the showpiece final perhaps indicates that the league’s most lethal finisher will get the chance to shoot down his future employers.
The player himself is unlikely to rock the Bannsiders boat any further this week, knowing there is a massive game on the horizon.
But even without Patterson — who scored four goals in a 6-0 demolition of the Glens earlier in the season — Platt knows his side can lift the prize. While much of the spotlight has focused on the frontman, Coleraine are certainly not a one-man team.
“I think there has been about seven or eight games when Rory has not been involved but we have won a good few of them,” added Platt. “It’s not about one person whether that person is a coach, manager or player — it is about the team and if the team performs well that gives you a real chance.”