THOMAS O’Ware has paid tribute to Morton boss Jim Duffy — and believes there’s no chance his manager will be tempted away from Cappielow.

Duffy begins his fourth Championship campaign as Ton manager away to Dumbarton this afternoon as his side look to build on last season’s top four finish.

As well as securing a play-off place, the Ton boss took his team to the Betfred Cup semi-final and was nominated for the SPFL Manger of the Year award.

Morton vice-captain O’Ware says the manager is happy in Greenock and that his determination to bring more success to Sinclair Street means Duffy will want to stay at Cappielow.

He said: “Every time there’s a job up, even during the week with the Hearts job, it’s not even 30 seconds before the boys are joking about the gaffer leaving.

“Even last year at Motherwell when all of that happened we were joking with him.

“But the longer the club can keep the gaffer, the better. He seems very settled and even when jobs do come up he laughs it off.

“He’s happy, his work ethic is the same every year, and if anything he works harder every year because we know we need to improve every year.

“The boys appreciate everything he does for us, there’s no gap between us all. He loves it here, so I’m sure he’ll be wanting us to do even better this year.”

O’Ware insists Morton are right to target the play-offs again this season after Duffy bolstered their front line by recruiting Gary Harkins, Bob McHugh and Robert Thomson.

The goal-scoring centre-back, who is probably still a week away from fitness, said: “The gaffer has recruited well and we’ve signed three strikers, which is the area we were short in last year with Jai Quitongo getting injured.

“So, we’ve improved the team, and there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be able to get into the playoffs again.

“Nobody has left us, whereas last year seven or eight left. It’s only the loan players that went back.

“It’s up to the gaffer if he wants to use loans again, but the squad is pretty settled just now. There may be one or two additions, but the new boys that have come in have gelled well already, so the team is looking just as good as it was last year.

“I’ll not do any better than 11 goals, so I’d take even getting close to that this year.

“We set the standard high last year with where we finished in the league and the cup run we had, but being knocked out of the League Cup so early this season allows us to get that bit of extra focus on the league.”

Duffy’s men have been hampered at the back with Lee Kilday and Ricki Lamie also out and O’Ware hopes they will be back to full strength soon.

He added: “We’ve had a lot of injuries, obviously the back four has taken a big knock with three centre-halves being out injured, so it’s important to get everybody back fit and try to go one better this year.

“I’ve been running this week, but I haven’t done any full sessions with the team, I’ve just been doing my own pre-season a wee bit later.

“So, I’d be surprised if I did play this week, I’m probably hoping for next week.

“We’ll always be regarded as one of the smaller teams in the league, but I don’t think we overachieved.

“The play-offs were our in-house goal last year and we managed to achieve it, so it will be the same again.

“I say it every year, but the changing room we’ve got is second to none. 

“We are all pals, so we do it for each other and out on the pitch that gets us through games when we’re not playing well.”