Manager’s programme notes
Posted : 15th April 2022
Tonight we will face a huge challenge from a Glentoran team that will arrive at Windsor Park determined to eradicate the painful memory of their 4-0 defeat against Crusaders at the Oval last week. They have so many talented players in their ranks and we will have to be on the very top of our game, if we are to earn the win we want from what's sure to be a formidable obstacle this evening.
We have four huge league games remaining in our season and our challenge is to maintain or improve upon our current one-point advantage over second placed Cliftonville, with third placed Glentoran still very much in contention in third place, a further five points behind.
We will approach each of our remaining four games on a one game at a time basis and they don't come much bigger than tonight's derby game against our cross-city rivals, Glentoran.
Last week at Solitude was a tough encounter between two well matched teams and while a draw was probably a fair outcome, I think we probably had the better of the few clear-cut chances and we could possibly have come away with a win. The draw was certainly the least we deserved and it preserved our narrow lead at the top of the table, going in to the first of our four remaining league games.
In last week's game we were able to welcome Conor Pepper and Matthew Clarke back to the team following injury - along with Christy Manzinga at the end of his three-game lay off due to suspension.
However, we are likely to be missing the influential Stephen Fallon tonight, as a result of the injury he picked up in the early stages of last week's game at Solitude. We will continue to assess Eetu Vertainen who picked up an injury and had to be withdrawn in the first half of our recent and dramatic win in Warrenpoint. We will continue to have Cameron Palmer and Ross Larkin unavailable.
I want to congratulate Chris McKee who earned international honours with the Northern Ireland under 21s squad in their recent away games against Slovakia and France. I also want to congratulate Trai Hume who left us for Sunderland in January, as he earned his first senior international cap in the recent Windsor Park friendly against Hungary.
There should be a large crowd in attendance at Windsor Park tonight and we will really need the loud, proud and positive backing of our supporters getting behind each and every one of our players in the best traditions of this club.
Our players have worked hard all season in what has been a hugely competitive league campaign and we will all be doing all in our power to achieve the success we crave in each of our remaining highly challenging games