Aaron Morgan’s key to our title charge, says Hendon boss McCann

PUBLISHED: 09:00 02 April 2015

Hendon winger Aaron Morgan (left) scored the first goal in a 2-0 victory against Leatherhead

Hendon winger Aaron Morgan (left) scored the first goal in a 2-0 victory against Leatherhead


Manager Gary McCann believes a focused Aaron Morgan can inspire Hendon to a vital victory in Saturday’s top-of-the-table clash against leaders Maidstone United at Earlsmead.

The 25-year-old winger scored a brace in last Thursday’s 5-1 London Senior Cup quarter-final victory against Corinthian-Casuals and followed it up with another goal in Saturday’s 2-0 home win over Leatherhead in the Ryman League Premier Division.

A former QPR youth team player, Morgan’s influence on the team has not gone unnoticed by his manager.

McCann said: “Aaron has been a bit of an enigma. He has had some highs and some lows since he joined us four years ago.

“He suffered two really bad injuries. The first was a hole in his thigh, which happened in the FA Cup first-round tie against Chelmsford in 2010, when he needed 20 stitches.

“It was a real shame for him because he had a lot of clubs watching him and, after he came back and was starting to really get back to his best form, he broke his foot, which was another setback.

“We stuck by Aaron because we know the talent is there, as his form at the moment shows. He is robust, powerful and has wonderful feet.

“When he gets a chance on goal he tends to take it. He rarely misses when he has an opportunity to score.”

McCann added: “He scored a wonderful header against Leatherhead at the weekend to give us the lead. He isn’t the biggest but he showed great desire to get on the end of the cross.

“Aaron’s been really focused and that’s key to getting the best out of him. When he gets distracted because of an injury or suspension then it can slow down his progress.

“He’s not a spring chicken but if he can stay focused and show a level of consistency for over a season then he is a player who I believe could play at a higher level.”

With Monday’s home match against AFC Hornchurch postponed due to a waterlogged pitch, Hendon now face a gruelling schedule of nine games in 21 days, including two matches over the Easter weekend.

The Dons host Maidstone on Saturday, with the chance to move five points behind the leaders with two games in hand, and they then visit play-off contenders Wingate & Finchley on Monday.

“The players are very focused and we are all enjoying the chase,” said McCann. “The squad knows we are just one defeat away from giving up the ghost of catching Maidstone at the top of the table.

“The number of games we’ve played recently has been so demanding and I said to them before the game on Saturday that they’d have every reason to have a dip in performance level, for fatigue to kick in and not get the result we wanted.

“But this group doesn’t want to have that post-match chat. I could tell that just by looking at them. I think putting that seed of doubt in their minds brought about a great reaction from them. They are like machines at the moment.”

Along with Morgan, winger Andre Da Costa has always had a major impact in vital games, including a stunning 30-yard free kick which set the Greens on their way to a 2-1 against Met Police.

McCann said: “We made a conscious decision to play with two out-and-out wingers in Andre and Aaron.

“Prior to that we’d be accommodating a fantastic player in Leon Smith off to the left of Kezie Ibe who plays up front.

“We wanted to try and keep the ball better and it is easier to do that by having an extra body in central midfield making a three.

“We have good options out wide with Andre, Aaron, Sam Murphy and Tony Taggart.

“I would have to say that I think the change in shape has helped produce the upturn in results lately.

“I spoke to Andre recently and he was saying this is the most comfortable he has ever felt at a football club.

“He is a player who has played for a lot of teams but he feels loved at Hendon and is grateful that we as a management team and his team-mates have taken to his shortcomings which has allowed him to express his ability.

“This is not to the detriment of Leon, who has scored over 20 goals this season and is always a threat.”

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