Manager’s programme notes

Posted : 9th February 2019

Today we will face yet another huge challenge, as we welcome Coleraine to Windsor Park for today’s vitally important league game. They will come here in great spirits following their midweek win at Dungannon and they will be full of confidence, having won their previous league game here 2-1 in November.

Today’s game gives us an ideal opportunity to bounce back after the setback of last week’s defeat at home to Crusaders in the Irish Cup. I cannot fault the effort of the players in what was a close, hard-fought cup tie and in a game that could have gone either way, the visitors scored the dramatic late winner to take them through to the next round.

There were a lot of positives for us in the game, despite the disappointing result and in particular, the performances of Chris Casement and Kyle McClean were worthy of praise. Our new loan signing, Marek Cervenka scored his first goal for the club with a very assured finish that looked like it would take the game to a penalty shoot out but on a day when we twice hit the woodwork, we just didn’t get the breaks you need to make progress in knock out Cup football.

I’m delighted that 22 year old goalkeeper Conor Mitchell has joined us on loan until the end of the season.

Conor has been with Burnley for several years, although he was at St. Johnstone on loan earlier this season.

He’s a goal keeper with terrific potential and I’ve watched his progress with interest through the various underage international levels.

I’m looking forward to working with him over the rest of the season and young Gareth Deane and Conor will provide the required strong competition for the goalkeeping position in the coming months.

Cameron Stewart has gone on loan to Glenavon until the end of the season. Cameron has only recently returned to action with the Swifts, following a long lay-off due to injury and this loan move with a leading club will hopefully give Cameron much needed game time.

Congratulations to Kirk Millar who made his 200th appearance for this club in last week’s Irish Cup tie at home to Crusaders.

I want to express my deepest sympathy to Andrew Mitchell, following the tragic passing of his beloved sister, Michaela and everyone at the club will offer support to Andrew at this very sad and difficult time.

Unavailable today due to injury will be Andrew Mitchell, Stephen Fallon, Ryan McGivern, Roy Carroll, Mark Haughey and Lorcan Forde but we will continue to rely on and make use of the strength in depth in our squad, as we face up to the many huge games ahead towards the tail end of a very demanding season.

Our support at Windsor Park in last week’s Cup tie against Crusaders was excellent and we will need more of that patience, understanding and enthusiasm in today’s huge league game against Coleraine.
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