Shamrock Rovers will sign another striker this winter but Rory Gaffney has warned they need to be more than just a goal scorer.
Gaffney has lifted the lid on the demands Stephen Bradley puts on his front men who are under orders to contribute in all aspects of play.
And the league title-winning Galway man is a prime example as he dusts down his tuxedo and heads for the annual PFA Ireland awards bash in Dublin tonight.
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Gaffney has been shortlisted for the top award - PFA Ireland ‘Player of the Year’ - alongside FAI Cup winners Cameron Dummigan and Mark Connolly of Derry City.
He was only the sixth highest goal scorer in the Premier Division this season, with 10 league goals and three more in Europe.
Sligo Rovers sharpshooter Aidan Keena - one of the strikers linked with the Hoops ahead of next season - topped the charts with 18 goals.
The fact he didn’t make the PFA Ireland shortlist for tonight’s award has rubbed Bit O’Red fans up the wrong way.
But perhaps they are guilty of judging it on a goals scored competition, when in reality Gaffney’s all round contribution - here and on the continent - was immense.
“It’s the ultimate honour as a player to be recognised by all the other lads in the league as one of the best performers,” said Gaffney ahead of tonight’s function.
“I don’t think you can get any better recognition from the players in the league than to be nominated.
“Out of all the strikers that they’ve come up against this year, they’ve basically said I’ve been the best one. It’s the ultimate compliment.”
Rovers boss Bradley expects his team to share the goals around and not just rely on the forwards, who have other jobs to perform.
The champions need to bolster their attacking options with youngster Aidomo Emakhu due to move to the Championship, with Millwall heavily linked.
And Gaffney - who was on standby for Ireland's games with Norway and Malta this week - insists any new striker joining the club must be willing to graft away from goal.
Gaffney said: ”If you’re coming to this league and scoring 20 goals a season and play for Shamrock Rovers, you’ll be expected to work hard.
“You’ll be expected to press, link the play, be a lone striker and run the channels. If you run the channels, you have to hold the ball up and get crosses in the box.
“If you’ve a striker who can do all those things on top of scoring 20 a season, he won’t be at Shamrock Rovers for long. Or there’s something wrong that he’s at Rovers.
“That’s the same for any striker in this league.
“If they consistently score 20 in a season, you’d be thinking what don’t they do that they can score 20? Maybe that’s what is stopping them getting to the next level.”Gaffney continued: “Outside of (Erling) Haaland being an absolute freak, how many strikers in the Premier League would score 20 a season from play?
“If you’re getting 15 from play you’re probably doing well. At Shamrock Rovers, if you’re not doing it after an hour, you’re taken off because of the squad we have.
“Maybe at other teams in the league, you might stay on if you're having a bad game because the quality isn’t here to replace you. Certain strikers suit certain teams.
“Maybe you only score eight goals for a team but if you’re doing all the other things and your work results in 15 more goals, that’s 23 goals for the team.
“That’s what Stephen Bradley talks about. He wants his strikers to do more. I’ve a mentality that if I don’t score today, what else can I do?. It has worked for Rovers.”
PFA IRELAND AWARD NOMINEES
Player of the Year
Mark Connolly (Derry City)
Cameron Dummigan (Derry City)
Rory Gaffney (Shamrock Rovers)
Young Player of the Year
Andy Lyons (Shamrock Rovers)
Phoenix Patterson (Waterford)
Joe Redmond (St. Patrick's Athletic)
First Division Player of the Year
Enda Curran (Treaty United)
Phoenix Patterson (Waterford)
Stephen Walsh (Galway United)
Premier Division Manager of the Year
Andy Myler (UCD)
Stephen Bradley (Shamrock Rovers)
Ruaidhri Higgins (Derry City)
First Division Manager of the Year
Tommy Barrett (Treaty United)
Gary Cronin (Longford Town)
Colin Healy (Cork City)
Irish Overseas Player of the Year
Chiedozie Ogbene (Rotherham)
Gavin Bazunu (Southampton)
Nathan Collins (Wolves)
Women's International Player of the Year
Katie McCabe (Arsenal)
Courtney Brosnan (Everton)
Denise O’Sullivan ( North Carolina Courage)
Premier Division Referee of the Year
First Division Referee of the Year
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