CORK City’s two-goal hero Connor Ellis is hoping his contribution to the seven-goal rout of lowly Athlone Town will keep him in manager John Caulfield’s plans for the title run-in and the upcoming FAI Cup quarter-final clash in two weeks time.
The 20-year-old striker scored two opportunist goals and might have walked off with the match ball but for a great save by the Town’s Latvian goalkeeper Igor Labuts late on at Turner’s Cross over the weekend.
“The two goals will help my case I suppose but I want to be pushing to play in our league games as well. I don’t see why I can’t get into the team when I back myself and my ability to score goals.
"This is probably the first time in the club’s history that we have 18 or 19 players professional players, every single one of them could play, and that’s the difference from last year.
"We had Pierce Phillips coming up from the U19s against Athlone and he just slotted in at full back and did a good job. We have real quality in the squad and while you are a little frustrated when you don’t play, you can’t really go knocking on the manager’s door asking why you’re not in, because whoever plays does well, and we are winning every week. Listen if it’s not broken, you can’t fix it,” he added.
“As much as you want to play games you have to be realistic too and no one is going to play in all the games.
Even Seanie, as good as he was, he didn’t start playing week in, week out until he was 22 or 23 and that’s three years down the line for me as I am still only 20.
“I don’t worry about not scoring in games because I haven’t got that many minutes and it’s only in the last two or three weeks that I have been starting matches.
"I got my chance up at Drogheda and out in a good shift and I stayed in the team for the game with Shamrock Rovers and it was a boost for me to get two of the goals the other night in the FAI Cup against Athlone Town.
"It’s a boost for me and keeps me in the manger’s plans for the league run-in and for our next FAI Cup game in the quarter-finals,” added Ellis who has put on some weight and worked on his upper body strength too with Strength & Conditioning coach Kevin Tattan.
“I don’t worry too much about not scoring in games because I haven’t had that may minutes but I am building up my game time and my time on the pitch.
"I suppose it would be different if I was playing the full 90 minutes in matches and I was missing chances but I have backed myself to get goals all the way through the underage system at U17 and U19 level and back in my earlier days with Bantry Bay Rovers in west Cork.
“I always feel I will put the chance away when I get one and granted the two goals I got the other night were simple enough chances but you still have to put the ball in the back of the net. I was in the right place at the right time and I’ll take it.
"My hold-up play has improved and I am not getting shrugged off the ball as easily as before and no defender is coming through me. I need to work on my game with my back to goal and that’s something I am concentrating on in training. I have pace, my movement is good and I will score if I get a chance,” added Connor who has put on four or five kilos.