Black to the rescue?

RYAN-ZICO Black wants to play for Guernsey in the Island Games - but his offer has received a luke-warm response.

RYAN-ZICO Black wants to play for Guernsey in the Island Games - but his offer has received a luke-warm response. The 21-year-old former Star Trophy striker, who is now a professional with Football Conference team Morecambe, has put himself forward as a potential solution to Guernsey's problems up front.

Island coach Phil Corbet, however, is less than delighted.

He has struggled to find an effective front line since the 2001 Island Games and he now has a major attacking headache ahead of this summer after Matt Falla and Neil Clegg sustained serious injuries.

Clegg broke his collarbone at the weekend. He will be out for at least a month and possibly for the remainder of the season.

Falla, having just returned from a three-month lay-off after breaking his right ankle, spent Saturday night in hospital after tearing ligaments and damaging a bone in his left ankle while playing for Vale Rec. against Belgrave Wanderers in the Jackson League.

'I'm in a plastic plastercast and I've definitely got that on for two weeks and then I've got to have another X-ray,' said Falla.

'They haven't said exactly how long I'll be out for, but I've got to be realistic and say that the Muratti and the Island Games might be too early for me.

'After the injury to my right ankle for the past few months, maybe it's time to leave it and rest and build for next season, but if it heals quickly, I suppose I could still be involved at the end of this season.'

But Black, who has been capped for Northern Ireland at under-21 level, has offered to step in and solve Guernsey's front line chaos this summer. 'I'm not sure what Phil would think about it, but I'd definitely love to play,' said Black.

'I'll be over in the island from the start of May and I would be very interested in training and playing for Guernsey in the Island Games if they wanted me. I'm as fit as I've ever been. In previous seasons, the Morecambe manager has said that perhaps my fitness was lacking a bit, but I've worked really hard this season. I'm on top of my fitness. I'm one of the fittest at the club.'

Despite his attacking problems piling up, Corbet said yesterday that he had never considered including Black in his end-of-season plans. And the island coach appeared lukewarm on the idea.

'I've never even thought about it. I've no idea really,' said Corbet, who expressed unease at being contacted by the Guernsey Press with the offer.

'I would have to think about who is available within the system closer to the time.'

Black's contract at Morecambe runs out at the end of this season. Although he hopes to pen a new one or two-year deal, he said that the contract would apply only during the recognised season.

The ex-Vale Rec. goalscorer will therefore be eligible to play in the Island Games. Black, a regular in Morecambe's promotion-chasing side at the start of the campaign, has spent most of the post-Christmas period on the substitutes' bench after an ankle injury.

'The manager [Jim Harvey] has sort of said that, if I keep going as I am, a new contract is a probability. But if I don't get one at Morecambe, there are a few other Conference clubs up north who would be interested in me.'

Black received his first international cap from Northern Ireland manager Sammy McIlroy last week in recognition of his appearance in a European under-21 Championship qualifier against Ukraine last year.