Belfast Telegraph

Eddie Patterson plans to make Glentoran proud

By Graham Luney

Glentoran manager Eddie Patterson is confident his men won't be lambs to the slaughter in Iceland against KR Reykjavik tonight (8.15pm).

The Icelandic outfit have set the pace in their domestic league with eight wins from nine games while the Glens have yet to get into their stride following their short summer break.

Patterson admits his side's lack of preparation time could cost them dearly in the Europa League first qualifying round, first leg tie, but the visitors aren't going to go down without a fight.

Jimmy Callacher and new signing David Scullion miss out on the first leg as the Irish Cup winners hunt for a better outcome than the 5-2 aggregate defeat they suffered when the sides met three years ago.

"We haven't had the preparation we would have wanted so we are up against it, facing a side that is nine games into their season," admitted Patterson.

"I would expect them to be a lot sharper and fitter than us and that always seems to be the challenge for Irish League sides.

"Yes, we've had a few training sessions and two matches against Dundalk and Ards, but it's not ideal preparation for the task we have been given.

"Having said that, you work hard all season to put yourself in this position, to represent the club in Europe and that's very important for a club the size of Glentoran.

"It would be wrong to moan about our lack of preparation when this is a position we really want to be in, but the reality for Irish League sides is that unless we have summer football the challenges will be very demanding.

"I'm confident we will give them a real match and we will play the hand dealt to us. It's a case of rising to the occasion and giving it the best shot we can.

"We have watched DVDs of their home matches and they are a typical big, strong Scandinavian team. They are strong at set-pieces and that is an area where we are going to have to stand up to them.

"They have scored a lot of their goals from dead ball situations. There's no question they are a decent football side.

"We progressed in Europe twice when I was at Cliftonville and any Irish League side making it through a round should feel very proud given the odds that are stacked against us.

"I just wish we had a few more games to fine tune things before this match."

Tonight's game marks the beginning of a new dawn for the Glens, an adventure which will no doubt feature a few fierce storms given the number of experienced players that have left the Oval.

"We have lost a lot of experience from the team," said Patterson.

"When you lose players like Colin Nixon, Sean Ward, Andy Waterworth and Stephen Carson it's bound to have an impact, but the club's financial situation has forced us to make changes.

"The club couldn't keep travelling down the same road, doing the same things, we have had to look at things differently.

"It's very much a rebuilding time for us.

"Young players will get a chance to show what they can achieve, but it's important they integrate well into the team.

"I've a few irons in the fire and will be speaking to a few players, but Mark Miskimmin, David Scullion, Johnny Addis and Jordan Hughes have come on-board while Aaron Boyd is in Canada and we'll explore that further when he gets home."

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