Gourley targets the top but he’s in no rush to leave Town

Town winger Ryan Gourley is hoping he can make playing against Premiership teams a regular occurrence. Pic Presseye
Town winger Ryan Gourley is hoping he can make playing against Premiership teams a regular occurrence. Pic Presseye

It seems, for Banbridge Town’s Ryan Gourley, that goals may not be enough for a chance at the club’s golden boot this season.

The in-form winger netted another two goals on Saturday to continue an impressive run in front of goal.

Captain Fantastic! Gourley was keen to praise skipper Ryan Moffatt. INBL1532-230EB

Captain Fantastic! Gourley was keen to praise skipper Ryan Moffatt. INBL1532-230EB

He’s up there with the club’s highest scorers but he has reason to wonder if he’ll have to rely on more than just his striking instincts to top the charts come the end of the season.

“Conor Downey seems to be the one that has a spreadsheet going to keep an eye on it all,” he explained. “I think I’m on seven now and he’s on nine. I haven’t far to go but he’ll maybe fiddle it at the end of the season, you wouldn’t know,” Gourley laughed.

If the ambitious local lad keeps going at his current rate, Downey may well have to resort to dodgy dealings.

Gourley has caught the eye with a string of lively performances on the wing.

Amidst a tight-knit Town team performing to their best, Gourley’s class has been clear and that has led to fans questioning how much of a star they have on their hands.

While playing at a higher level, he admits, is an ambition, he’s keen to help his current club reach a better standard of football before he potentially moves on.

He said: “I want to be the best I can be and get to the highest level I can possibly get to.

“I’d love to get to the Irish League at least but I really do love playing for hometown club so I’ll be here for as long as I can until that comes along.”

Manager Ryan Watson has assembled a team of talented stars. Included are the likes of Chris Kingsberry, Stuart King and Ryan Moffatt, who have all played in the top division of the Irish League and have had a huge impact on th young star’s budding career.

“I’m looking at those guys for the inspiration to meet my potential,” he said.

“They’ve done it all in Northern Ireland and have been a great help to me.

“As a captain, Pixie (Ryan Moffatt) is always encouraging me. He knows I’m a confidence player and he, as well as the other senior lads, has been great at giving me that.”

Town have been beaten just once in their last 11 league outings, a statistic to match those challenging at the top of the table.

Only a slow start to the season stopped Town reaching up alongside them and Gourley knows, if this squad can stay together, they could be ones challenging for promotion next year:

“This season is great to be a part of so hopefully we can all stick together this summer and have a real go at it next season.

“Banbridge Town as a club needs to progress. At the start of the season, people were talking about relegation.

“We had signed so many new players and it just took time to get but since we got that first win, it has all kept rolling along really well.

“Now we have to all really push on from the run we have been on.”

They will have to do that if they’re to preserve their place in the top divisions but Gourley thinks the club have the right people in place at all levels to continue their rise well beyond this campaign.

“The coaches are great,” he said, “The training sessions have been absolutely spot on. We’re focused on our work rate and everyone is giving 100% every night in training. That carries into the matches on Saturdays, when we all work for each other.

“I want to thank the gaffer for his kind words in the Leader as well. And to the supporters club too. Even at every away game, they outnumber the away fans. They’re absolutely brilliant and we all appreciate what they do.

“The changing room is always fantastic. Most of us are local and we’ve known each other for years. I couldn’t ask for a better bunch of lads to be playing football with.

“I really can’t give enough credit to my team-mates. They are always building me up. We all work together and help each other and I really wouldn’t be playing half as well as I am without their support.”

High praise for the rest of the Town squad - or is it a shameless bid for a couple of extra marks to his name on the Conor Downey spreadsheet?