Dylan King’s superb long-range strike against Glentoran proved an online talking point last week but of greater significance is the career the centre-back has been quietly building outside of the spotlight.
The 20-year-old stands at the heart of a revamped Dungannon Swifts defence key to an early-season rise to sit second in the top flight.
King lines out this weekend against former team-mates with Glenavon, the club that signed the Strabane man back to Northern Ireland last summer following time in England and Scotland.
Limited minutes led to short spells with both the Lurgan Blues and Coleraine before a pre-season deal resulted in King reuniting with Kris Lindsay, his former Glenavon coach, at Stangmore Park.
“It can be hard to get established in a side, coming over to a new league and as a new face, especially at centre-back when the stakes prove so high for any mistake,” said King. “So, after time with Glenavon and Coleraine, it is great to be at Dungannon now building up my confidence off consistent minutes.
“It is a backline put together this season but everyone is working together and I feel far more confident thanks to playing regularly, so am able to be more vocal.
“I’m really enjoying it here on a personal level and we’ve made an encouraging start to the season, with partnerships starting to build all over the pitch.
“It has clicked quickly at Dungannon and we have probably surprised people, so just want to keep making progress.
“When I was at Glenavon with Kris he would always be on hand with advice or help and we always kept in touch.”
King’s value may remain in his defensive contribution but he is keen to add to the goals tally.
“After my first touch for the Glentoran goal I felt I had to hit it and it was great to see it go in but don’t expect too many like that in the future,” said King. “However, I would like to weigh in over the season with more goals on top of everything else.”
Glenavon boss Gary Hamilton will share the sideline with Swifts manager Kris Lindsay having previously shared a dressing room with his former team-mate and first-team coach.
He feels that shared history offers Lindsay an edge in terms of the tactical battle before a ball is kicked.
“Kris knows all about our approach given his time with Glenavon but, as manager now, puts his own ideas into place at Dungannon, ideas we do not have any real inside knowledge of, so there’s an advantage to a degree,” said Hamilton. “Of course, it’s about 11 v 11 on the pitch and even irrespective of the links with Kris, we know traditionally going to Dungannon is always a tough test.
“Dungannon have made a flying start to the season under Kris so they will come into Saturday full of confidence.
“When you factor everything in, from Kris’ knowledge to our history of hard games at Stangmore Park, it shows more than ever the importance of the right attitude from our players.
“If you go in with anything short of that then we will not get anything from the game.
“However, we must also back our ability if the attitude is right and, compared to corresponding results last season in our games so far this campaign, we are three points better off overall.
“Jordan Jenkins and Jack O’Mahony are enjoying the benefits of increased gametime this season, Andrew Mitchell is working hard to build up his match fitness and having Andrew Doyle back is a massive boost.”