Manager’s programme notes

Posted : 18th March 2023

Today we return to Premiership action and will no doubt face a significant challenge from a Newry City team that will be fighting for top flight survival towards the bottom of the league table.

We have seven league games remaining and we know that we will have to try and win all of those games, if possible, if we are to make up the seven-point deficit we presently trail league leaders Larne by.

Cliftonville are a point ahead of us in second place and with Crusaders, Coleraine and Glentoran not far behind us in the league table, there will be a huge battle ahead for the much sought after European placements.

As always, we will approach each game on a one game at a time basis and aim to secure as many points as possible, to finish the season as strongly as possible and as high up the league table as possible.

Last weekend, we were delighted to win the BetMcLean Cup final and secure the prestigious trophy on what was an enjoyable occasion for everyone associated with the club.

On the day, we were deserved winners and it's always pleasing to pick up silverware, especially so in front of a Windsor Park attendance in excess of 11 000. NIFL did an excellent job in promoting their League Cup final and they deserve the appreciation of everyone involved in the game.

Kyle Lafferty will re-join the squad for today's game, having been ineligible for last week's League Cup Final.

Eetu Vertainen will be an injury doubt today, having limped off during last week's cup final. He will be assessed by our medical staff in the run-up to today's game.

Robbie McDaid will be unavailable for some time, due to injury and Ryan McKay who was also injured in the same game, is not expected to be available for the rest of this season.

Niall Quinn has had a frustrating, stop-start season due to injury and hopefully, we will have him available to the squad in the near future.

Stephen Fallon is making good progress from long term injury and we are hopeful that he may be available to make a return to action before the end of the season.

Joel Cooper could make his 150th appearance for the club today and ahead of this significant milestone, it was pleasing to see him make a major contribution, scoring the first goal to set us on the road to last week's trophy winning success.

I also want to offer my congratulations to James Martin who has deserved all the praise and goodwill that has come his way, following his incredible contribution to an amazing success for the short film 'An Irish Goodbye' at the Oscars' event in L.A. last weekend.

Today is the first of our seven remaining "cup finals" and we will need the positive vocal encouragement of all of our loyal supporters, to help drive us on in our aim of finishing as high up the league table as we possibly can.
Next Match
Queen's University
League Cup
Kick-off : 3rd October @ 7:45pm
Venue : Windsor Park
Last Match
Newry City
Irish Premier League Match Report