Former Coleraine midfielder Brad Lyons in action for Morecambe against Chelsea.
FORMER Coleraine midfielder Brad Lyons admits the experience of playing against Chelsea in the FA Cup at Stamford Bridge is a ‘memory that will last a lifetime.’
The 23-year-old came on with about 15 minutes remaining for League Two club Morecambe in their third round clash last weekend, a game the visitors lost 4-0.
Incredibly, the Ballymoney man only joined The Shrimps in midweek and had only taken part in a couple of training sessions before travelling to London.
“I couldn’t have timed the move any better,” laughed Brad in coinversation with Chronicle Sport.
“It’s crazy how quickly things turn around, a young lad from Ballymoney playing against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
“The FA Cup is one of the best known competitions in the world and it’s a dream come true for me to be honest,” added the keen Man Utd fan.
“It’s an experience I’ll never forget, that’s for sure.
“I managed to get Billy Gilmour’s shirt. He’s ex Rangers and a player that will be a future star for sure.
“He’s such a tidy footballer but all the Chelsea players are absolute athletes and so sharp on the ball.
“It was surreal playing at Stamford Bridge, having seen it so many times on TV, and the match itself was a massive learning curve,” he added.
Lyons, who made his name as a dynamic midfielder with the Bannsiders under Oran Kearney, joined Morecambe on loan from parent club Blackburn Rovers until the end of the season.
It’s an arrangment that suits both parties: Blackburn get to see Lyons progress in a competitive environment at a fellow Lancashire club while the player gets valuable game time.
Derek Adams’ team have won their last four league games and are currently just five points behind leaders Carlisle in League Two, well in contention for a play-off place at least.
“I did well at Blackburn in December and was nominated for the division's player of the month award,” explained Brad.
“Other clubs are always watching our league and because I had done so well there was a lot of interest from other clubs
“Morecambe contacted Blackburn and my agent about me going on loan and the opportunity to play competitive football appealed to me.
“It’s less than an hour away so it meant I was able to stay in the same apartment which is a big help.
“The boys have just won four of their last five games so it’s great to be joining a team in such good form.
“The manager Derek Adams was keen to get me and that's one of the reasons I chose Morecambe. It always helps when you’re wanted.”
Blackburn’s bosses will continue to monitor Brad’s progress in the coming months as he gets ever closer to a first team appearance at Ewood Park.
“I’ve been in the first team squad a few times and was on the bench once and because Morecambe is close to Blackburn, Rovers' coaches will be able to keep an eye on my progress,” said Brad.
“I just want to help Morecambe and that's down to me to keep working hard.
“I'm living the dream.”