McCullough’s double boost

Portadown-born Luke McCullough (left) scored his first goal in professional club football on Saturday during Doncaster Rovers' FA Cup tie against Bristol City. Pic by Steve Uttley.
Portadown-born Luke McCullough (left) scored his first goal in professional club football on Saturday during Doncaster Rovers' FA Cup tie against Bristol City. Pic by Steve Uttley.

Luke McCullough will use this week’s two landmark moments in his professional club career as motivation for continued progress.

The Portadown-born defender scored his first goal in professional club football and finalised a two-and-a-half year contract extension in the space of four memorable days with Doncaster Rovers.

It provided a perfect start to 2015 for McCullough off the back of last year’s rise into Northern Ireland’s senior international squad and regular starting spot with League One-based Rovers.

“I have enjoyed the past few days but there is no time to rest or stop working,” said McCullough. “It is great getting so much playing time with Doncaster and I feel I am learning with each match.

“I feel I can compete at this level and know I have the manager’s backing, so that is a real boost.

“However, you can never afford to get too comfortable and now I want to push on.”

The centre-back put Rovers in front during Saturday’s FA Cup tie against Bristol City with a close-range volley. The game finished level at 1-1, with the winners of Tuesday’s replay to face the reward of Premier League opposition against either Everton or West Ham United.

“That goal was a long time coming and I just swung my leg at the ball,” said the 20-year-old. “My celebration was pretty much off-the-cuff but it was just a shame it did not give us the win we deserved.

“Now we have the replay but a league game first this weekend against Oldham Athletic.

“I was not too worried about any interest from other clubs before signing my contract as I am happy at Doncaster and feel it is a great place for me to continue to develop.

“We have the squad in place to really push on over the second half of the season and a spot in the play-offs should be a target.

“It was great to get the goal and sign that new deal but I just want to keep on working hard.”