Glentoran v Coleraine
Saturday 23rd September, 3pm.
This Saturday we face another significant test as we entertain undefeated league leaders, Coleraine.
Coleraine have had an excellent start to the season, following an equally impressive end to the last one, when they finished third. Oran Kearney was clearly happy with his squad in the summer as his high profile signings were limited to Josh Carson (Linfield) and Aaron Traynor (Warrenpoint Town) plus Stephen O’Donnell and Joe McCready (both Institute) and Scot Whiteside (Derry City on loan).
Following Tuesday evening’s County Antrim Shield victory over Crumlin Star – when Gary Haveron made 11 changes to his starting line up – last week’s winning team v Ballymena are all expected to be available, including Robbie McDaid who missed the Crumlin squad as a precaution after picking up a slight knock at the Showgrounds.
No matter the outcome of Saturday’s game we will remain at least in fifth place. However three points would cement our place at the upper end of the table and close the gap with Coleraine to four points. One of many six pointers to confront us in the weeks to come.
Gary Haveron said after training on Thursday evening: "I'm delighted with how we've performed in the past week with 2 good wins against Ballymena and Crumlin Star. Two very different wins that showed different aspects of our game.
Winning is a great habit to get into and the fact I was able to use 2 completely different 11's is an indication of the strength and depth we have in this current squad .
I was particularly pleased how well we battled against Ballymena. I think they changed their formation to counter us and that is what you want as a manager. Why ? Because that means they are more worried about us than we are about them. That's a sign that we now have the players to hurt teams that were better than us last season. We also showed a lot of heart and in the middle of our defence. I thought Calum and Jonny stood tall and and strong there, and along with Elliott I was particularly pleased with them. I want to play free flowing football but I also need the boys to show heart and fight and I feel we have that within this squad . The Ballymena match showed that.
Saturday will be a tough ask for us against an unbeaten team. Oran has done a fantastic job and has Coleraine flying high and in great form. But the bigger the challenge the more we should embrace it. We respect everyone and fear no one.
We have the full squad available plus a couple of the lads who did well on Tuesday night so we go into the match feeling strong and confident."
The Board of Directors at Glentoran Football Club would again request that all supporters travelling to the Oval by private car consider the local residents when deciding where and how to park.