Rodgers aims to cement place in United’s defence

Chris Rodgers' second goal of the season set Ballymena United on ther way to victory over Ballinamallard on Friday night. Picture: Press Eye.
Chris Rodgers' second goal of the season set Ballymena United on ther way to victory over Ballinamallard on Friday night. Picture: Press Eye.

CHRIS Rodgers has certainly taken Glenn Ferguson’s call for Ballymena United’s players to take the goalscoring pressure off the strikers to heart.

Having claimed his first goal for his hometown club against Portadown recently, the Cullybackey-based defender followed it up with a goal after just 67 seconds to set the Sky Blues on their way to victory over Ballinamallard on Friday night.

“When I was younger I used to score goals all the time and since getting into the senior team I’ve had a few chances so I’ve been disappointed that I haven’t scored more goals,” Rodgers told Times Sport.

“A big lad like myself should be scoring more goals in those situations than I do but hopefully the one against Portadown kicked it off and it was nice to get another one against Ballinamallard.

“I’m delighted to score at any time but the fact both goals have come at the Showgrounds has been even nicer for me.

“Glenn has utilised me at full-back and I think I’ve done a reasonable job in that position but I know myself I’m more comfortable in the centre and that is ideally where I want to play.

“I know I’m young for that position – I just turned 22 last week and I know that’s young for that position when you consider what age a lot of centre-backs play to.

“I know I’ve a lot to learn but injuries sometimes dictate what happens and hopefully I get a chance to show what I can do in that position.

“I’m aware that Johnny Taylor will be coming back from injury, Aaron Stewart won’t be missing for long and Davy Munster is still going strong into his thirties so the competition for places is fierce.

“I see my long-term future at centre-back and hopefully I can keep learning and progressing and nail down a spot there.”

Rodgers is hopeful that Friday night’s victory can provide the impetus for Ballymena to put together a run of positive results ahead of the start of the Irish Cup and the second half of the league campaign.

“Coming back the way we did against Distillery the previous week after a poor first half was a big boost - we could have crumbled after that and getting a point from the position we were in gave us a wee bit of confidence.

“But it’s more or less the same group of players now as when we were on that amazing run earlier in the season and there’s no reason why we can’t go on a run like that again.

“It’s good to get back to winning ways and with a clean sheet we have plenty to build on.

“We still believe we can finish in the top six – it’s going to be tough, we’re under no illusions about that – but maybe we will have a couple more signings to add a bit more quality and competition to the squad.

“Everyone at Friday’s match saw the impact Shane Dolan made – he’s a big unit and holds the ball up well and he has good feet and he has brought a bit of character into the dressing room but it’s important we don’t put too much pressure on him, we all have to help out by scoring goals,” added Chris.