Saturday 18th January 2020, Kick Off 3.00 pm
On Saturday we head to the Brandywell for the second time this season to play eleventh placed Institute.
We have had two very different meetings with ’Stute so far. In September we had a pretty straightforward 4-0 win at the Oval through goals from Gavin Peers, Hrvoje Plum, Robbie McDaid and debutant Antonio Duric. But on our last visit to the Maiden City, in November, we drew 1-1 when an opener from Elvio Van Overbeek was cancelled out just before half time by an equaliser from Niall Grace (now away from the club). That day a strong Glens performance was thwarted as our many efforts on goal were beaten out by an inspired performance by Rory Brown in the home net.
Institute are currently 11th in the table, one point ahead of Warrenpoint, after losing a 2-0 lead at Mourneview last week in a 2-2 draw with Glenavon. So far, they have just two league wins so far this season, against bottom placed Warrenpoint at the end of September and Coleraine in November. However, since that unexpected win they have gained just two points from their last twenty-one. However, we can’t take anything for granted since we’ve drawn two of out three visits to the Brandywell since Institute’s promotion.
Mick McDermott told us at the end of a very busy Thursday: “: “Last week against I thought it panned out in a way very similar to the previous week against Portadown. We created plenty of chances in the first half but didn’t take them. So, as is often the case, we paid for that through a well taken Warrenpoint goal just after half time. But we came back just as we did the previous week and as has been the case so often this season, Robbie and Hrvoje stepped up when we needed them. That showed the sort of belief and character this squad has.
At Institute last time it was a bit like last week. We had twelve or thirteen good efforts on goal in the second half, but their keeper was outstanding, and we only came away with a draw. That’s why we treat every game and every opponent as a challenge and prepare equally seriously and thoroughly no matter who we’re about to play. This week has been the same.
For this one Gavin Peers is suspended so that might give Keith Cowan an opportunity to make his debut for us on a pitch he’s very familiar with. Paul O’Neill’s suspension is over which is a big boost since we’ve started the past few games with most of our forwards unavailable. Caolan Marron and Andrew Mitchell are available too so we might get our first view of them at some point.
Finally, on the striker front, Curtis had a good first full week’s training with the rest of the squad. He looks sharp and fit so we should see him in the squad in the next couple of weeks. Darren Murray has agreed a loan with Carrick Rangers for the rest of the season.
Our support in the last couple of weeks was great when we were chasing the match and I know our big travelling support will make a lot of noise getting behind the team at the Brandywell on Saturday. We've fourteen league games to go and the support will be very important to all of us, as we reach the final stages.”