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Opportunity knocks for patient McDonald

PUBLISHED: 07:00 06 October 2009 | UPDATED: 14:29 06 July 2010

It's all about opportunities - and taking them - for Cody McDonald right now.

The 23-year-old has been restricted to occasional duties from the bench to top up his reserve team outings.

It's all about opportunities - and taking them - for Cody McDonald right now.

The 23-year-old has been restricted to occasional duties from the bench to top up his reserve team outings.

And while he waits and hopes for a start, he has seen the likes of Chris Martin and Jamie Cureton come on and hit the back of the net - and effectively put their noses in front in the race for a start.

Martin took his opportunity a week ago by scoring against Leyton Orient less than 10 minutes after coming on. It earned him a start against Bristol Rovers at the weekend - and again he responded with a goal.

Likewise Cureton, who has come on as a sub in the last two games - and scored each time.

Now McDonald is hoping not just for the opportunity to impress manager Paul Lambert - but to take it as well.

That chance may come at Gillingham tonight, with Lambert trying to juggle the remainder of a squad depleted by injuries and bumps and bruises. McDonald is hoping he looks his way.

"Obviously the boys that have come in, like Chrissy Martin and Curo, have been doing the job - so I haven't really got any complaints there to be honest," said McDonald.

"They've been doing what they've been asked to do, so given the chance then hopefully I can play a part in us getting a good result.

"If I do get the chance I will come on and do what I do normally do and give 100pc like all the other times.

"What I want to do, when I get the chance, is give the manager a headache, that's what all the players want to do. We want everyone here to play well and hopefully put a good case forward to maybe start on Saturday."

Lambert has proved he is interested only in picking a team to win - little else matters.

Martin has responded to the challenge and if Cureton were younger and more match fit, he would perhaps have been given a start; Korey Smith did so well in midfield that the teenager is almost undroppable.

"Korey wasn't starting a great deal with Bryan (Gunn), but he has come in, done really well and he has obviously cemented his place there at least for the next few weeks," said McDonald.

"As long as he keeps playing as he is he'll be there for the rest of the season because he's done really well. He has proved if you come in and do the right things he's going to stick by you."

McDonald has carried a lot of expectations since his arrival from non-league Dartford at the beginning of the year, but he's still inexperienced: he has just three league starts to his name.

"It's still a learning curve, but obviously when you are a goalscorer, when you are in front of goal, you want to score goals," he said.

"I have been getting the chances, it's just all about taking them. The other boys have been taking their chances and when I get my chance hopefully I can take mine now.

"We're here to play football and obviously we all want to play 90 minutes every week, but it isn't going to happen with a big squad like we've got.

"I just have to bide my time and when I do get the chance hopefully I can take it.

"I haven't scored for a little while, I've played a few games for the reserves and haven't managed to notch yet.

"Goals are very important as a striker, but it only takes to do what Cureton has done, to come on and get a late goal which means a lot to a player and obviously to the club.

"Hopefully given the chance I can either come on or maybe start tomorrow night and notch and get my confidence straight back up there."

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