WITH NO SHORTAGE of belief in his own ability, Derry City’s new striker, Anthony Elding is confident he can replicate the goalscoring feats of Rory Patterson this season.
Peter Hutton’s capture of the combative centre forward raised quite a few eyebrows given the Englishman was plying his trade with part-time club Ballinamallard United in the Irish League.
And the interest from Derry actually surprised Elding himself, but he believes his goalscoring heroics for Sligo Rovers back in 2013 can be repeated this season, providing he gets the right service.
He set the League of Ireland alight for the Bit O’Red that season, netting 10 goals from the opening 10 fixtures, which included the winning strike against Derry at Brandywell on the opening day.
He went on to score a total of 19 goals and the winning goal in the FAI Cup Final against Drogheda that year before his move to Cork City didn’t quite work out as he had planned.
A brief flirtation with the Mallards where he scored six times in 12 games and he was delighted to get the chance to prove himself once again in the Airtricity League.
At 32 years of age, Elding is undoubtedly well travelled having represented 20 clubs (including loan spells) during his 16 years as a professional, which included Leeds United, Grimsby Town, Stockport County and Ferencvaros (Hungary).
Ballinamallard United boss, Whitey Anderson described the signing of Elding as the “biggest signing in the club’s history” when he joined the Mallards last May.
The 6ft 2ins striker was quick to point out that he’s scored goals at every club he’s been at and he believes he can fill his boots at Derry given the creative talent in the current team. Elding, of course, made an instant impact for City when coming off the bench and scoring in his first appearance during the pre-season campaign against Institute in the Billy Kee Memorial Cup.
And he claims he’s the best in the business when it comes to getting onto the end of crosses into the danger area.
“If I’m honest, and without sounding big headed, I’m one of the best at getting across the man inside the box and putting it into the net,” said Elding. “So if they (his teammates) play to my strengths and do what they’re capable of doing, then it can only be good.
“I’m a player that likes the ball in the box,” he explained. “I score a lot of goals inside the six yard box and I try and put a shift in outside the box.
“I’m a striker who has scored quite a few goals at Sligo and I was unfortunate with an ankle injury at Cork. So I suppose I’ve come back into the league off the back of doing what I did at Sligo, because I never really played at Cork.
“I did reasonably well at Ballinamallard and I would like to hit the ground running at Derry and get a few goals but more importantly it’s about the results. If I’m scoring goals then the team are going to be doing well. There’s quality all over the park at this club. Obviously I’m new so they will be trying to adapt to how I play. I’ll be talking to the wide men and telling them to be getting the ball into the box.”
It’s important to start well. I remember the first season at Sligo I scored 10 goals in my first 10 games and we did really well. That gives you the platform and a base to build from.Anthony Elding
Elding must be getting fed up talking about former City forward, Patterson and his superb goalscoring record. However, he admires what the striker achieved at the club and he’s hoping to make his own history at the Brandywell.
“Rory did fantastically for the club, there’s no taking that away. He got something like 60 goals in 90 games which is top drawer whatever level you play at. Some people might say it’s like for like because we’re a similar size but I think I’m more of a box player.
“I won’t compare myself to anybody. I aim to work hard for myself and the team and try and get a few goals on the way.
“And if the team is successful and I’m scoring goals then happy days.
“I’ve scored goals throughout my career and at every club I’ve played for. But you only score goals based on service so hopefully the lads can show what they’ve been doing in training and I can get into good positions and then I’ll score some goals.
“I’m thankful to the club and to Peter Hutton for giving me the opportunity to come back to full-time football because it’s an ambition of mine to play in full-time football for as long as I can.
“Going part-time was the first time I’ve done it and to be honest it wasn’t right for me at this moment in time.”
If Elding can help Derry get off to a similar start to Sligo back in 2013, then he will certainly warm himself to the City Faithful and he admits it’s imperative to get off to a good start in the League of Ireland.
“It’s important to start well,” he said. “I remember the first season at Sligo I scored 10 goals in my first 10 games and we did really well. That gives you the platform and a base to build from.
“We had a good run from there and that good start instils confidence. So the game away at Galway we’ll be expected to go there and get a result.
“If we go and apply ourselves in the right manner then there’s no reason we can’t do that.”