Manager’s programme notes
Posted : 3rd November 2018
Today we will face a tough challenge from a Warrenpoint team that will come here determined to gather points to maintain or increase the gap between them and the teams below them in the league table.
We will not underestimate their challenge as, although we won comfortably at the Q Radio Arena in September, I recall only too vividly how they provided us with a major headache in a 3-3 draw at Windsor Park just before last Christmas.
In recent weeks we’ve recorded three very pleasing results, with one hugely important league win and two very satisfying victories in two separate knock-out cup competitions.
Last Saturday we showed immense character and resilience to grind out the last gasp win against a defiant Dungannon team who are in a totally misleading position at the foot of the table. The win was a huge boost after the previous week’s slip up away to Ards and just as Dungannon and Ards provided us with major hurdles to overcome in recent weeks, I’m expecting a similar fierce challenge today from a Warrenpoint team who are also scrapping for points, to move away from the wrong end of the table.
Winning in any ‘Big Two’ Derby game is hugely important and pleasing and the recent 2-1 extra-time win in the County Antrim Shield quarter-final was no different. We now look forward to a challenging semi-final away to an in form Ballymena team on November 27.
The midweek 5-0 League Cup win against Institute was very pleasing, with some excellent play and fine individual and team goals by Andrew Waterworth, Niall Quinn and Kirk Millar. The game allowed me the opportunity to give first team debuts to young Caomhan McGuinness and Daniel Reynolds and the valuable experience they gained will certainly aid their development as young players of enormous potential. We can now look ahead to a quarter-final meeting away to Portadown, as we aim to make progress in a prestigious tournament that we haven’t won for far too long.
Our injury list continues to grow. While we have welcomed Mark Stafford and Gareth Deane back to the squad following injury, Daniel Kearns, Chris Casement and Josh Robinson have now joined our longer term absentees, Lorcan Forde, Mark Haughey, Cameron Stewart and Ryan McGivern, although hopefully the latter is nearing an outing with the Swifts team in the near future.
The support we received at Dungannon last week in freezing cold conditions was hugely important, in terms of driving us on to the win we obtained in dramatic last gasp fashion and we will need more of the same support today and in the coming weeks, to help us in our league and Cup campaigns.