Glentoran's Nacho Novo striving to return and prove quality, says Haveron
Glentoran boss Gary Haveron says Nacho Novo is hungry to get back on the big stage and show the fans what he's capable of. Rangers legend Novo has been over at Ibrox continuing his rehabilitation after suffering a hamstring injury in the County Antrim Shield defeat to Crusaders.
It was a bitter blow for the Spaniard who had been on a high after netting his first Danske Bank Premiership goal in the 2-1 victory over Cliftonville.
Haveron and Novo have been communicating via FaceTime and the Glens boss says his frontman is desperate to put on his shooting boots again.
The 37-year-old may have had a testing start to his Glentoran career but the goal against the Reds should lift his confidence and he's close to a first-team return.
"Nacho tweaked a hamstring against the Crues which was unfortunate because I thought that against Cliftonville he worked incredibly hard and he scored his goal which gave him a massive lift," said Haveron.
"He started the Shield game and he was fantastic. He was flying but unfortunately he has run after a ball and pulled up. He's lucky in that he has strong relationships with Rangers and connections there.
"He has been in with the club every day in Glasgow and he FaceTimes me to show me what he's at and what he's doing, he's very pro-active and he's busting to get back.
"He's a nightmare because he just wants to play and he says that himself, 'I'm a nightmare when I'm injured' but he's getting full-time treatment over there and we hope to see him come into the reckoning this weekend as it's not a bad pull or strain but if not Saturday, certainly next week."
Haveron has been brought in to steady The Oval ship and he's done that, earning the Manager of the Month gong for October after steering the Glens in the right direction. The former Carrick Rangers boss has demanded more effort from the players in training and three Danske Bank Premiership wins on the spin - despite facing an injury crisis - represents real progress.
"The club desperately needed to get a few wins on the board and lift confidence," said Haveron. "The first month has been very pleasing. The fans and players took enough heart from the performance against Linfield despite us losing the match and we have built on that momentum. It's an encouraging start but that's all it is.
"We had to become hard to beat and get a steel and resilience about us. I also don't believe you can be competitive on a Saturday if you don't train properly during the week with real purpose and intensity. We have tried to make training as game related as possible. I feel the boys are enjoying training and that's the main thing, the work and endeavour is there and they have a smile on their face. There is no point in us making unrealistic targets for ourselves but we want to challenge for a top-six place and being in the mix for a European play-off would be fantastic.
"This Manager of the Month award is recognition of the players' work and I collect it on behalf of the team and the backroom staff, with everyone pulling together in the same direction."
The good news for the Glens is that their skipper Stephen McAlorum is close to ending his injury hell with a return to the first team, though Willie Garrett could be out for the next nine months with a cruciate injury.