Belfast Telegraph

Eddie Patterson has big call to make at Glentoran

By Graham Luney

Eddie Patterson is mulling over a new contract offer to stay on as Glentoran manager.

Patterson has been offered a two-year deal by the club but he must now consult with his coaching team before deciding whether to remain in charge at the Oval.

Glentoran are continuing to embark on cost-cutting measures to balance the books and any new deal presented to the former Cliftonville boss will reflect this.

"There was a meeting on Tuesday night and a contract offer was made," said Patterson.

"It has to be considered before a decision is made. Talks are ongoing regarding the offer of a two-year contract. Things are still being ironed out."

Glens fans are now waiting to see whether Patterson will sign on the dotted line or decide that he cannot accept the new terms.

The thoughts of his coaching team, including assistant boss Tiernan Lynch, will help shape Patterson's thinking.

A decision could be finalised as early as tonight but it seems certain that if Patterson does extend his stay in east-Belfast, he will have to work on reduced terms and with a lower playing budget.

Considerable experience has been lost in the last year, particularly last summer when Andy Waterworth, Sean Ward, Stephen Carson and Colin Nixon left the club. David Howland suffered cartilage damage to a knee in October and the midfielder's absence has also hurt the club.

Defender Jimmy Callacher made the switch to Linfield in January while Richard Clarke also moved across Belfast to Crusaders.

Patterson has shown faith in the promising young players coming off the Oval production line but high demands have been placed on the shoulders of rising star Jordan Stewart.

"My ambition has always been to bring players into the football club to improve it but I understand that budgets dictate what I can and cannot do," added Patterson.

"When you have a smaller squad and injuries mount up then that's when your problems escalate.

"Injuries have crippled us this season, particularly over the winter period but that has given young players like Jim O'Hanlon and Jordan (Stewart) more opportunities in the first team."

Patterson agreed a two-and-a-half year contract when he became the new Glens boss in February 2012 – beating off the challenge of Newry boss Pat McGibbon to land the position.

He managed to mastermind a fairytale Irish Cup triumph last season – a stunning achievement despite financial concerns earlier in the season which arose when players did not receive their wages on time. The Glentoran board has always valued Patterson's skills in nurturing young talent but now the man himself has a huge call to make as to whether he remains in the role. Meanwhile, Patterson has admitted he would be willing to "give summer football a try" if there was sufficient support for it within the Irish League.

The Northern Ireland Football League has asked Uefa to help draft a blueprint for the future of the game here and a consultation process has indicated that many fans would like to see the season switch to the summer though opinion on the issue remains divided – both among supporters and the clubs.

"I would be more of a traditionalist and content with the August to May model," said Patterson. "I think it's the right set-up for our part-time league but I also understand people are supportive of summer football and if it happens then we will give it a try and run with it."

Glentoran vice-chairman Aubry Ralph has admitted that the club would miss the riches generated by the Boxing Day scraps with Linfield but it may be a pill that has to be swallowed if the NIFL decide there is a better way forward.

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