Glentoran fans will be looking forward to a trip to Dublin tomorrow evening to play one of the best footballing sides on the island in St Pat's Athletic. St Pat's are currently in pre-season before they kick off their league campaign in March. The two fixtures against Glentoran will be Pat's first two competitive fixtures of the new season as they look to put their new squad into practice. St Pat's finished in 3rd position in the League of Ireland last season, some distance off the winners Sligo Rovers. For St Pat's, Jake Kelly and Greg Bolger are both doubts for the game due to thigh strains whilst John Russell is suspended.
For Glentoran, the Setanta Cup is not a competition in which we have had much success in the past. One heroic run in 2009 saw Glentoran overcome St Pat's as well as Linfield and Drogheda Utd before eventually suffering a narrow 2-1 defeat in the final against Cork in Cork. Apart from that season Glentoran have struggled to win many games however comprehensively defeated Bray Wanderers 7-2 on aggregrate last season before being beaten by eventual League of Ireland champions Sligo Rovers.
Following Saturday's 5-2 victory over Bangor in the Irish Cup 6th round, Glentoran will most likely need to make a couple of teams to cope with the strain of the difficult surface at Clandeboye Road. Richard Clarke is not expected to travel with the squad due to work commitments and older members of the squad such as Colin Nixon and Stephen Carson are being tipped to be rotated. Calum Birney may feature after missing out due to injury on Saturday whilst John McGuigan returns to the squad following a period on the sidelines. Jay Magee will also return from suspension.
Glentoran will be underdogs for tomorrow night's game however two leg ties often show having home advantage second can prove an important advantage. Glentoran are more than capable of matching a side of St Pat's calibre and for the travelling fans, it would be a fantastic achievement if we could return to Belfast tomorrow night with a positive result.