Glentoran FC

The Official website of Glentoran Football Club / Pride of East Belfast 



Match Preview: Glentoran v Crusaders

Sun, 29/01/2023 - 14:09

Monday 30th January 2023

Kick Off 7.45pm

Tomorrow night we welcome fifth placed Crusaders to the Bet McLean Oval for our third Danske Bank Premiership meeting of the season.

Crusaders have played eight games in all competitions since the sides last met at Seaview at the beginning of December. In addition to defeating Championship strugglers Dergview in the Irish Cup, they have recorded league wins over Carrick, Cliftonville, Newry and Linfield but also lost away to Glenavon and Coleraine.  Indeed it is their inconsistent away form - five of their six league defeats so far suffered away from Seaview - that has left Stephen Baxter’s side behind the current top three in the race for the Premiership Title.

One of those defeats came at the Oval back in August when Glentoran recovered from the blow of conceding a fifth minute Ross Clarke to canter to an eventual 3-1 victory thanks to goals from Rory Donnelly, Conor McMenamin and a powerful header from ex Crusaders defender Aidan Wilson.

Manager Stephen Baxter is hopeful that key midfielder Ben Kennedy will return to fitness in time for the run in to the league split but will be disappointed that  midfielder Philip Lowry - scorer of 14 goals already this season – won’t be available to continue his red-hot form in front of goal due to a one match suspension. There has been little transfer movement at Seaview so far in the January window, with young defender Cameron Stewart arriving on loan from Ipswich Town and striker Johnny McMurray departing for Championship side Warrenpoint.

Rodney McAree: “I was delighted with our performance v Dungannon Swifts last week. I felt the Swifts actually started pretty well but once we got to grips with things and Niall opened the scoring we looked very commanding and exciting going forward. It’s important and expected at Glentoran that we’re able to get our fans on the edge of their seats because we’re here to entertain as well as to get results. Particularly with a squad with this much quality in it. The players need a license to express themselves going forward. They did it last week and the plan is that we keep doing so whenever possible.

Niall’s hat trick was a great boost and he’s seized the opportunity in the last two games to show our supporters exactly what he’s capable of. I was massively pleased with Shay’s first goal because as soon as we won the ball back Shay made a very strong burst through the middle for a great finish. In that role Shay can be a very potent forward threat for us. Also Jay got a couple of goals at Newry and a couple of assists at the Oval and is starting to look very strong again.

Crusaders have kept under the radar a bit but they’ve been getting good results and are in a good position. We had a good win last time they came here so despite their good form we’re not going to be overawed. We’ve had two good results in the past week or so and while this one will be a bigger challenge its one we relish and one we’re all looking forward to.

On the player front, Paddy is available after his suspension so he gives us another option tonight. Seanan is also close but this one might come a few days too early for him. A bit of other good news is that James Singleton is back in training and looking good  so he’ll be another asset once he’s fully fit.”

For those unable to attend, this match will be shown live on Sky Sports Football (7.40pm).