CILLIAN Morrison hasn’t returned to Derry City just to make up the numbers!
In fact, the Letterkenny man has every intention of becoming the Brandywell club’s ‘main man’ in terms of finding the back of the net this season.
And the 6ft striker who represented the ‘Candy Stripes’ at underage level, has plenty to offer Derry boss, Peter Hutton, the Donegal man having an eye for goal, good pace and physicality and the ability to hold up possession.
A former inter-county forward who was part of Jim McGuinness’ Donegal U21 panel which won the 2010 Ulster Championship and reached the All-Ireland final, Morrison will bring a physical presence to the new-look City frontline alongside the bustling Anthony Elding and Ryan Curran.
He’s set himself a target of 15 goals this season, providing of course, he can steer clear of any major injuries.
Morrison (23), who graduated in civil engineering from UCD, is hoping to make his name in the League of Ireland this year and his progress has been built on solid foundations following promising spells at UCD and Cork City.
Hopefully if I keep myself fit I can score in and around 15 plus goals so I suppose that’s a little target for myself and if I can stay injury free then, fingers crossed, I can achieve that.Cillian Morrison
He’s certainly laid the groundwork but his pre-season has been hampered by illness and injury. However, he claims he will be raring to go when Derry kick-off their campaign against Galway United at Eamonn Deacy Park.
“I started really well in pre-season and was really happy with how things were going and then I was out with sickness for four or five days with mumps,” he explained.
“I came back into it and scored a couple of goals in a couple of games and then I picked up a little niggle against Institute on my quad muscle,” he added. “I’ll be okay for the Galway game but pre-season was broken up for me by those minor setbacks.
“You would ideally like to be that little bit sharper going into the game.”
He knows competition will be stiff as he battles it out with Elding, Curran and possibly even Nathan Boyle for one or two places in the Derry City frontline this season but he’s ready for the challenge.
“Rory (Patterson) had a good record of scoring goals. But like any club players move on and younger players come in so someone has to step up to replace him. I suppose with myself, Anthony and Ryan Curran, the team has options and if you’re playing up front you want to score goals.
“Time will tell but I have every confidence in myself and I don’t think we will have a problem scoring goals.
“I want to score as much as I can,” he added. “Hopefully if I keep myself fit I can score in and around 15 plus goals so I suppose that’s a little target for myself and if I can stay injury free then, fingers crossed, I can achieve that.
“The competition is huge up front,” he continued. “You want to play every game and you want to be the main man up there. Look, we’ll see how it goes but, of course I want to be up there come the end of the season.”
It’s understood Cork City boss, John Caulfield wasn’t really keen to let him go such was his contribution at Turner’s Cross last year. And Morrison felt that experience has given him the confidence to make the grade at City this season.
“Cork was definitely a good experience for me. At UCD you were part-time but at Cork it was full-time football which was a change for me.
“I came in at a time when Cork were up challenging at the top and every game was hugely important. They signed John O’Flynn from Shrewsbury who is an excellent player who has won leagues and he had that experience and I was in direct competition.
“So I was in and out of the team and it was a bit broken up but I was looking forward to the next year in Cork when I heard Peter was interested. It’s only a half hour up the road so it was good to come home. ”