Manager’s programme notes

Posted : 14th September 2019

Today’s game is probably one of the most eagerly anticipated ‘Big Two’ derbies in recent times, due to the very impressive start to the season that Glentoran have made.

Their wins away to Ballymena and at home to Larne have been particularly notable and they will come here aiming to maintain the momentum that they have built up in their opening league games.

‘Big Two’ derbies are special occasions and our visitors will come here full of belief that they can achieve a positive outcome from a game that certainly remains the biggest draw in local football.

Last week’s result at Solitude was very pleasing. As always, it was a hard fought local derby on what was a difficult surface but I thought our players showed great resilience, particularly in the closing stages and we deserved and were delighted with the highly satisfying three points.

The win was all the more important as it was our first game back in domestic competition after our exciting European campaign. The mental toughness we showed at Solitude pleased me, as it showed there was no hangover after the narrow exit from Europe on the away goals rule in Baku.

We now have a few league and cup games to catch up with, after our European involvement but we will approach each one, on a one-game-at-a-time basis and since Wednesday night’s Shield tie, our focus has been solely on today’s huge ‘Big Two’ Derby.

Ryan McGivern rejoins the squad following suspension and Jordan Stewart should be available again, after missing last week’s game at Solitude with a minor injury. Josh Robinson has featured in several recent games with the Swifts and the only player missing from our squad due to injury is Mark Haughey.

Congratulations to Shayne Lavery who played in both senior internationals against Luxembourg and Germany at Windsor Park in the past week. The recognition is fitting reward for his eye catching performances during our run in Europe this season. Shayne also deserves further congratulations after picking up the NIFWA player of the month award for August.

Young Jake Corbett and Trai Hume also earned international recognition at under age level recently and I want to offer congratulations to them as well.

Lorcan Forde has gone on loan to Warrenpoint until the January transfer window and hopefully, the extra game time there will prove of benefit to him, Warrenpoint and ourselves.

Best wishes to our Ladies squad who will play Glentoran tonight in a vital league game and also in next Saturday’s Windsor Park ‘Big Two’ Irish Cup Final.

Our visitors will bring a large support to today’s game and they will generate a great noise in the North Stand. We will really need our loyal and vocal supporters in both the South and Kop Stands to get behind each and every one of our players to help drive us on to the positive result we all want in today’s huge ‘Big Two’ Derby. Your support really can make a vital difference in these huge games.
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