Glentoran FC

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Match Preview: Cliftonville v Glentoran

Thu, 07/12/2023 - 21:52

Saturday 9th December

Kick Off 3pm.

On Saturday we start the second half of the Sports Direct Premiership season when we make our first visit of the season to Solitude. The Reds sit in third place, ten points ahead of Glentoran, Glens supporters will be looking to see us start to close the gap by following up on last week’s rout of Linfield with a repeat of our win over Cliftonville in September.

Cliftonville have bounced back from their shock League Cup exit to Dungannon Swifts at the start of November to record 4 successive league victories: scoring 11 times and conceding just once. This run has seen 4 of Manager Jim Magilton’s attacking players hitting a rich vein of form, with Joe Gormley, Ben Wilson and Hale brothers Ronan and Rory contributing 10 of those 11 strikes. Wilson in particular is enjoying a prolific start to his Irish League career, having netted 16 times in 19 league appearances to date. A solid defence has also been a key factor in pushing the Reds to within 2 points of the league summit; with just 10 goals conceded from 19 games, they boast the meanest backline in the division.

Cliftonville won on both occasions that the sides met at Solitude last season; a deflected Kris Lowe strike securing a 1-0 scoreline just prior to Christmas before the game in February of this year saw a 2-1 Reds victory in a game where all 3 goals were scored by players now plying their trade across the water; winger Sean Moore (now of West Ham) scoring a brace before Terry Devlin pulled a goal back for the Glens in the second half. Our last victory there came in January 2022, when a brace by Jay Donnelly was enough to cancel out Jamie McDonagh’s early opener.

Norwich City loanee Sean Stewart is likely to miss out after picking up an injury while goalkeeper David Odumosu has displaced Nathan Gartside as first choice in recent weeks. Striker Ben Wilson will be hoping to return to the starting lineup after scoring twice as a substitute in last week’s 4-1 win away to Dungannon.

Warren Feeney: “It goes without saying how pleased I was with last week’s performance and deserved win over Linfield. t was the sort of performance I’ve believed our players were capable of, and what I’ve been trying to implement since the start of the season. We played with an intensity I liked and our confidence grew as the game went on. Definitely something we need to produce on a regular basis. We know we’re going into another tough game when we do to Solitude on Saturday. The Reds are a very good team – maybe the best in the league so far – and I have a lot of respect for Jimmy and Gerard, two very good lads who I really like. But it’s a very good game for us to follow the Linfield win and the good win at Carrick in the Shield.

We still have a few injury concerns after the Linfield game, and Cammy Palmer is suspended for this one, so we ‘re going to have to reshuffle a bit for Saturday. We’ll not be totally sure about a couple of players until after training on Thursday night , but whoever we have available I’m confident they can slot well into a team on a high after their last two good results.

Also we have some more good news on the Academy front as I’d like to welcome Gary Dickson back to Glentoran after a spell at the Larne Academy. Gary is a very promising U16 player who was a star man in the Antrim team at this year’s Super cup NI. The Glentoran Academy is a great place to be right now as we are determined to give our best young players a real chance to establish themselves. So far this season we’ve seen Johnny Russell, Aaron Wightman, Leon Boyd, Casey Smyth, Rhys Walsh and my own son George feature and get game time for the first team. That’s something Glentoran historically was very good at and it’s a key part of our strategy going forward."