Dean Smith praises positivity of Loughgall striker who is a 'super person to have in the changing room'

Dean Smith has praised the positive attitude and work ethic shown by striker Nathaniel Ferris after he responded to sitting on the bench in consecutive Premiership matches with a strong performance in Loughgall’s latest impressive showing.
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

With Benji Magee in superb form and Jay Boyd shining since arriving on loan from Crusaders, who defeated the Villagers 2-1 last weekend thanks to Paul Heatley’s 93rd minute strike, Ferris has had to show patience in recent weeks after starting in the first eight league matches.

The 24-year-old stood up to a physical test against the Crues at Lakeview Park and will be hoping to keep his spot in the side when Smith’s men travel to Glenavon this afternoon.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

He has scored four league goals this season and boss Smith says Ferris is a “super person to have in the changing room”.

Loughgall manager Dean Smith takes his side to Glenavon this afternoon. PIC: INPHO/Stephen HamiltonLoughgall manager Dean Smith takes his side to Glenavon this afternoon. PIC: INPHO/Stephen Hamilton
Loughgall manager Dean Smith takes his side to Glenavon this afternoon. PIC: INPHO/Stephen Hamilton

"Nathaniel has been out of the team the last few weeks and he came back in for the Crusaders game,” he said. "He’s a super person to have in the changing room because he’s so positive with everything he does and you can see how hard he works in training during the week.

"He deserved his chance and I thought he put his body on the line, held the ball up, brought people into play and did the dirty side of what a centre forward should do.

"They had Jordan Owens on the other side who was a real handful also and I thought Nathaniel was an equal measure to that.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Loughgall worked their way back into the game last weekend with Pablo Andrade’s strike cancelling out Ross Clarke’s opener, but they suffered a hammer blow when substitute Heatley denied them what would have been a second consecutive draw against Crusaders.

Rather than sitting back trying to salvage a point, the hosts went in search of something more and Smith says that philosophy is something that will remain.

"It’s how we are built,” he added. “If we sit back and invite teams on then I don’t think we’re built that way, so we always want to be on the front foot and always trying to score goals with players going forward.

"Hindsight is a wonderful thing – maybe we should have sat back, I don’t know.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"I have no issues with how it ended – we would do the same thing again to try and get the winner.”

Since Loughgall’s previous meeting with Glenavon in August, things have changed at Mourneview Park with Stephen McDonnell replacing Gary Hamilton and the 31-year-old has certainly turned the Lurgan Blues’ fortunes around in recent weeks.

They’ve won three consecutive Premiership matches and with both teams eager to play an attacking brand of football, Smith is looking forward to the challenge.

"They beat Ballymena last weekend so they've won their last three and will be on a high,” he said. “Stephen has came in and you can see he's made an immediate impact with how he wants to play.

"We'll enjoy going to Mourneview Park too.

"In terms of dimensions it's a bit bigger than what we've got and it maybe lets us play a bit more football.

"It'll be a good game and we're looking forward to it."