It's time for Glentoran's starlets to make big impact: Curtis Allen
Curtis Allen has called on Glentoran's promising young players to showcase their talent this season.
Boss Eddie Patterson was hit with a reduced budget which meant the club couldn't match the spending power of rivals such as Portadown, Glenavon, Linfield and Cliftonville.
The Glens have switched much of their attention to the development of young talent and the production line is working well.
Supporters are hoping that Jordan Stewart can produce more fireworks this season while emerging talent such as William Garrett, Calum Birney, Danny McKee and Kym Nelson are showing plenty of promise. Former Cliftonville boss Patterson has an impressive track record of helping young players fulfil their potential but it's important the players seize opportunities when they come.
With a youthful squad comes inconsistency but the players are hungry to make a big impact and they will go about their business in a fearless manner.
More experienced heads like skipper Elliott Morris, midfielder Stephen McAlorum and striker Allen have a crucial role to play in the development of the Oval starlets. Former Linfield and Coleraine marksman Allen is now hoping the kids can become men in the green, red and black.
"I want the young players to step up to the mark this season and produce performances which say 'I'm good enough and I'm here to stay'," says Allen.
"Some of the players aren't household names in the Irish League but there's an opportunity for them to make progress and I hope they take it.
"With Misky (Mark Miskimmin) leaving the club there is more responsibility on the shoulders of myself and young Danny McKee to score goals and Danny is a player with a lot of potential.
"The Irish League is a very hard league to play in and I know that from experience. It can be physically tough and demanding but Jordan Stewart has shown that if you have the right attitude and possess the talent you can make your mark."
Ahead of Glentoran's trip to Crusaders tomorrow, Allen is well aware his side have been written off already by many observers this season.
But after missing the opening two battles against Cliftonville and Glentoran through suspension, the striker was back scoring goals against Warrenpoint Town and Ballinamallard United.
"It would be good for the young lads if we could go on a run," he added. "If we had beaten Linfield and Ballinamallard then we would be near the top of the table but we are quietly confident going into games.
"On our day we can beat anyone and at Seaview there are usually plenty of goalscoring opportunities. This is a massive season for me personally but I'm feeling fit and determined to keep finding the back of the net."
The focus at Seaview this week has been on keeping the ball out of the net as Crues keeper Sean O'Neill lended a helping hand to youngsters at a goalkeeping academy. Around 30 aspiring keepers from various Belfast-based clubs including Glentoran, Cliftonville, Crusaders and Donegal Celtic enjoyed the coaching at the Just4Keepers training camp.
"It was a fantastic three days," said O'Neill.
"The youngsters really enjoyed it and it was great to see their willingness to learn and improve."