Manager’s programme notes

Posted : 19th October 2019

Today we will face a huge challenge from a Ballymena team that pushed us close in the title race and League cup competition last season. They will be highly motivated and professionally prepared for what’s sure to be a highly competitive game against an in form team that performed well in two close games against Crusaders in the past week.

Recent league wins against Glenavon and Dungannon were very pleasing and in both games, we displayed the impressive style of football that I know we are capable of producing. We suffered a setback in a recent hard fought league encounter at Seaview. Although we lost by a 1-0 score line, it was a game I felt we deserved to take a point from, but unfortunately on the night, we just couldn’t get an equaliser, thanks largely to the stubborn resistance of a resilient Crusaders rearguard.

While we were delighted to make progress in the League cup, following our 4-0 win in Dungannon, we were disappointed to be eliminated from the County Antrim Shield, following the midweek penalty shoot out defeat by Cliftonville. It was an ideal opportunity to provide game time to several of our young players and Dale Taylor certainly grabbed the opportunity with both hands, with an excellent and memorable debut goal.

Shayne Lavery will return to the squad today, after missing recent games due to international recognition, firstly with the senior squad in Holland and subsequently, with the under 21 squad in Romania.

Josh Robinson and Mark Haughey featured for the Swifts in the midweek game against Dungannon Reserves and we are hopeful of having other absentees due to injury - (Jordan Stewart, Chris Casement, Daniel Kearns and Bastien Hery) available for selection soon.

Congratulations to Mark Stafford who was deservedly named NIFWA September player of the month - appropriate recognition for a popular stalwart who always gives 100 per cent effort and commitment to the club.

Congratulations to our Ladies squad who dramatically won the premier league title for a fourth season in a row, after their 10-0 win at the Brandywell. It was an excellent achievement and fitting reward for their efforts over the course of a hard fought campaign.

I’ve been greatly honoured to have been manager of this club for over four years now and while it’s great reflecting on past success in league and cup competitions, I’m totally focused on helping bring further success to the club in the future.

While it was nice picking up another manager of the month award in recent weeks, I want to thank the players and backroom staff whose efforts in September contributed enormously to the wins that made this award possible.

We will need the backing and encouragement of our supporters today in what’s sure to be a hugely significant game and one we’ve been looking forward to, and preparing throughly for, in training
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