Manager’s programme notes

Posted : 24th November 2018

Today we will face a Cliftonville team that always plays well at Windsor Park and which will be determined to get back to winning ways, after their recent setbacks against Ballymena and Dungannon Swifts.

They are a hugely talented team with players who will pose a real threat to our hopes today and we know we will have to be on the very top of our game, if we are to secure the maximum points on offer today.

The result in our previous home game against Coleraine was hugely disappointing and on the day, it was a below par performance overall.

I was delighted with our response in last week’s game away to Institute, particularly in the second half when we scored three excellent goals to come away from the Brandywell with a very satisfying 4-1 win.

It was pleasing to see Lorcan Forde begin his comeback from injury, by playing for part of last week’s Linfield Swifts game against Institute Reserves and hopefully, he can step up his comeback and add to competition levels within the first team squad in the coming weeks, especially as we will face a tough and demanding set of December fixtures.

Michael O’Connor returned to the squad last week after missing the Coleraine game due to suspension and the only other player we have currently unavailable due to suspension is young Caomhan McGuinness.

Josh Robinson returned to the team last week following injury and I was pleased with the impact Jordan Stewart and Stephen Fallon made on their returns to the first team.

We will continue to be missing Cameron Stewart due to long term injury. Mark Haughey, who’s been missing all season so far, is improving slowly but it may not be until the end of December before we get him back fit again.

We had hoped to get Ryan McGivern available by now but he suffered a setback recently and it will be another few weeks before we hopefully, will have him available to the squad.

Andy Mitchell suffered an injury in the recent Warrenpoint game and it will be another week or so before he’s fit to resume and Daniel Kearns who was injured down at Dungannon is healing well and we will hopefully have him back in a couple of weeks.

The injuries have tested the depth of our squad but this is part and parcel of the game and with a heavy fixture schedule in the coming month, we will no doubt continue to rely on every available player to cope with the considerable demands that will be placed on our squad, as we compete on all fronts.

I’m delighted to see that the Kop Stand will be open again today and for our upcoming games against Crusaders, Glenavon and Glentoran and we will need the full backing of all our supporters in both the south and Kop Stands today, to help us secure the win we want to maintain our position at the top of the league table.
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Kick-off : 22nd December at 3pm
Venue : Windsor Park
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