Stuart Addis hopes that his December return to Ballymena United’s first team can again have a positive effect on the Sky Blues’ season.
Two years ago the veteran goalkeeper forced his way into the team late in the calendar year just in time to play a starring role in the County Antrim Shield triumph, saving two penalties in the shootout win over Linfield.
Then last year he produced a heroic performance on his return to the team, playing 85 minutes of the Boxing Day win over Coleraine with a dislocated finger which put his career in jeopardy.
Addis has been back between the posts in each of United’s last two games, ahead of another big occasion in tonight’s WASP Solutions League Cup semi-final at Ballinamallard.
“It’s a strange coincidence that it just seems to be this time of year that I get into the team,” said Addis, who is in his third spell at the Showgrounds.
“It’s been a long wait but I knew the situation that it was always going to take a while with my finger.
“The finger is not a great shape to look at but I taped two fingers together on my gloves and it doesn’t affect me at all - at the start there was a bit of pain but now there’s no pain whatsoever.
“The surgeon is happy enough and I didn’t have to go back there but there was a time when I wondered what should I do. I work in Shorts and work with my hands so I had to look after myself.
“I did consider retiring because I couldn’t afford to take any more time off work but I thought long and hard and decided it just wasn’t the time for me.
“Dwayne and I were coming back from lengthy injuries in pre-season and Glenn made the call in Dwayne’s favour for the first game of the season.
“People are always asking me if I want Dwayne to have a bad game so as I can get back in but that doesn’t come into my thinking at all.
“Goalkeepers are completely different and we back each other up.
“It will be the same now with Dwayne, he’ll just be waiting patiently for his chance to get back into the team - it’s up to me to make sure that doesn’t come along for a while!
“I don’t know what Glenn’s going to do for the semi-final - there’s a possibility that Dwayne could maybe play on Tuesday night, having played in all the other rounds, but if I’m in the team I’ll try my best to help us get into the final.
“Since I came back to Ballymena I haven’t played at Ballinamallard so I wasn’t aware of our record down there but hopefully I can be a good omen in the same sort of way as the Shield final.
“It’s not an easy time to come in but I have to do my best and if we get a steady back four, hopefully we’ll stop conceding.
“The cup has taken our minds off the last few league defeats - the chance of reaching a final has given us all a bit of a buzz and it could turn our season around,” said Addis.