Glenn Ferguson hopes that David Cushley’s status as Ballymena United’s key player will be enough to persuade the player his future lies at the Showgrounds.
Cushley’s contract expires at the end of this season and he is currently mulling over a new Ballymena deal as well as weighing up offers from Linfield and Crusaders.
We aren’t blessed with enough players who can go and win games for us so we have to stick by him because we know he can do things that other players can’t do.Ballymena United manager Glenn Ferguson
The winger’s sensational goal against the Blues at the weekend - coverage of which was shown as far afield as Australia as well as on the Match of the Day website - has further fuelled the debate on where Cushley will be playing his football next season.
“In the current run of form that he’s on, if he was at a bigger team, he wouldn’t be playing today and that’s the bottom line,” said Ferguson after United’s 3-1 defeat.
“He hasn’t been consistent enough but we aren’t blessed with enough players who can go and win games for us so we have to stick by him because we know he can do things that other players can’t do.
“I’ve known him now for coming on seven years, playing with him and managing him and I’ve seen him score some outrageous goals but I think Saturday’s was the most outrageous of the lot.
“It was by no means a fluke - he knew exactly where the keeper was, he knew what he had to do and he did it perfectly.
“That’s David Cushley in a nutshell - he didn’t have a particularly good game but when he got that chance, he certainly lit up the stadium.
“We have made him an offer, Linfield and Crusaders have done the same so it’s up to David - the ball is in his court.
“I’ve told him I need to know this week one way or the other so that we can plan ahead. We are hopeful, we would like him to stay and hopefully he will.
“I was at Linfield for a long time and I know the amount of players that come and go. Some people sign for Linfield just to wear a Linfield tracksuit.
“If you have a real desire to play football you have to be good enough and have a real desire to stay in that Linfield team.
“Crusaders work off the same idea - you have to be consistent enough to stay in their team because they’re league champions.
“If I’m honest, do I think David is consistent enough to play in either of those teams? No I don’t. Is he good enough? Yes, but will they take a one (good performance) in three or four?
“We can get away with that at Ballymena because we can’t attract the big players. Those other clubs have big players who can just step in and replace him.
“Although he’s a gem, I think Stephen Baxter and David Healy still have their doubts about signing him but they’re in a position where they can sign him and if he doesn’t play, it doesn’t bother them,” added Ferguson.