Manager’s programme notes

Posted : 13th March 2021

Over the course of this weekend, we will face two more formidable hurdles against teams that will come here with no fear and with nothing to lose.

Both sides may be in the bottom two at present but even without the fear of the dreaded relegation, they will be battling to gather points, to move away from their current basement positions in the league table.

Carrick showed in their recent 1-1 draw against us at the Loughshore hotel arena and in their subsequent 3-1 win at Seaview, that they are more than capable of securing impressive results against the leading sides in the league.

Dungannon have also recorded several impressive results and with Roy Carroll in goal and a new manager in Dean Shiels in charge, they will be determined to make a significant impression on their return to a stadium they know well.

I was delighted with our recent wins (2-0) against Cliftonville and (5-0) against Warrenpoint. The clean sheets were most welcome and I've also been very pleased with the positive contributions of our new signings, Cameron Palmer and Michael Newberry. Both lads have settled in well in their new surroundings and I'm sure they will make a significant contribution during the course of their time with us.

We are in the middle of a tough schedule of Saturday / Tuesday fixtures and the players have responded well to the demands placed on them. Several players missed the midweek game due to injury - Christy Manzinga, Stephen Fallon, Mark Haughey, Mark Stafford and Ross Larkin.

They will be joined on the doubtful list for this weekend's games by two others who limped off injured in the midweek game against Warrenpoint. Kyle McClean had just returned to action after a one game suspension, when he picked up an injury early in the Warrenpoint game and later in the game, Conor Pepper had to be withdrawn, due to a knock he sustained.

As a result, it's been a busy time for our medical team of Patrick Noble (doctor), Terry Hayes (sports therapist) and Paul Butler (physio) and hopefully, they will have got some of our injured players back into the squad for these important games this weekend.

It's not just players who we've been missing, as we've really been missing our loyal supporters, home and away at all of our recent games. We really hope it won't be too long until we can play in front of our supporters again, as we know they can really make a huge difference, especially in tight games.

Congratulations to everyone at one of my former clubs Rangers on their 55th league title success and we will be working hard over the coming weeks to try and equal their tremendous achievement.
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