Manager’s programme notes
Posted : 21st January 2023
Today we return to Premiership action by welcoming Ballymena United to Windsor Park. David Jeffrey’s team has recorded some positive results in recent weeks, most notably against Cliftonville and Glentoran and today, they will be keen to build on the momentum they will have gathered from those performances.
We were disappointed to lose to Cliftonville on a night when I felt our second half display merited at least a draw but we responded in excellent fashion, by winning 6-1 away to Glenavon last weekend.
While the midweek County Antrim Shield final penalty shoot-out defeat was disappointing, the night was marred by a serious head injury to our goalkeeper David Walsh. The best wishes of everyone at the club and further afield, have been extended to David for a full and speedy recovery.
Missing today's game through suspension will be Joel Cooper (five cautions) and Kyle McClean (midweek red card). My assistant Ross Oliver and I are also suspended, following midweek red cards in a game where I was so proud of the effort of the players who earned a scoreless draw, having played for an hour with ten men, in awful conditions against a talented Larne team.
In addition to David Walsh, our injury list contains Stephen Falllon, Jimmy Callacher, Kirk Millar, Niall Quinn, Robbie McDaid, Liam McStravick and Ross Larkin. However, it was pleasing to welcome Jordan Stewart back to the team last weekend at Mourneview and also Ben Hall who, after several games for the Swifts, returned to the squad for the midweek Shield final at Seaview.
I've been delighted to welcome Max Haygarth to the squad during this January transfer window. He's an attacking player who's joined us until the season end and he scored within seconds of making his debut as a sub in last week's game at Mourneview Park.
We have also welcomed young players Rhys Annett and Ryan McKay to the squad during this transfer window. They have joined us from Dundela and we believe they can have a bright future ahead of them.
Congratulations to Kyle McClean on his 100th appearance at Mourneview last week and I also want to congratulate Eetu Vertainen who was named December Player of the month by the NIFWA. While I was delighted to be named December NIFWA manager of the month, this award is recognition for all of my coaching and backroom staff, as well as the players who recorded positive results for the club throughout the month.
I want to thank Pat Fenlon for all his assistance to me during his time here as general manager and I want to wish him every success in his exciting new role with Bohemians FC.
Last but by no means least, thank you to all our supporters who've got behind the players in recent weeks at Solitude, Seaview and Mourneview. The positive support is greatly appreciated and we will continue to rely on your wholehearted backing, as we face up to a demanding fixture schedule over the coming months.