Belfast Telegraph

Lisburn Distillery boss Wright sees red over claims of crisis

By Graham Luney

Tommy Wright has blasted critics who claim that Lisburn Distillery are a club in crisis.

The Whites boss has a message for the doom merchants — “the wheels have not fallen off our bandwagon.”

The Ballyskeagh boys are searching for their first win in the Carling Premiership since November 20 when Wright masterminded a 3-1 win at Solitude.

The road has been a difficult one since then, but the boss is focused on “the bigger picture” and he is keen to banish any negative talk ahead of the visit of Glentoran this afternoon.

On Tuesday, Distillery will take on Crusaders in the semi-final of the Co-operative Insurance Cup and only Ballinamallard United stand between the Whites and a cherished place in the quarter-finals of the JJB Sports Irish Cup.

The club will also be dipping its toes into the Setanta Sports Cup waters for the first time.

Although in seventh spot, Wright’s men are only four points adrift of Glenavon and Ballymena United as they strive for a top six place, but a difficult winter has had many critics sharpening their knives — much to the dismay of the former Northern Ireland goalkeeper.

“I’m getting all this doom and gloom from pundits,” said Wright.

“People have been saying there is crisis at this club, but I can tell them that no wheels have fallen off this bandwagon.

“Journalists can say that if they want, but I’m looking at the bigger picture and my message is a positive one.

“We still have a lot to play for, I would be concerned if we only had Premier League survival on our minds. There are a lot of teams in a worse position than us and I don’t envy them. We are going for a top six place and aim to do well in the cup competitions.

“We just would like a rub of the green, but we are only four points behind Glenavon and Ballymena United and I’m still looking up.

“There are teams with bigger budgets who are struggling. We have eight or nine under-21 players involved in every game and it’s inevitable you’ll get ups and downs.

“They’ve all got ability and we aren’t going to worry about what anyone else says.”

The last time Glentoran visited Ballyskeagh the east-Belfast side cruised to a 6-1 win on the opening day of the season. The Glens also won a County Antrim Shield quarter-final clash between the sides at the Oval, but Lisburn Distillery netted a 3-1 win on Mersey Street at the end of October.

Scott Young’s troops now find themselves 14 points behind Linfield in the title race and although they have played two games less, Wright expects David Jeffrey to get his hands on the Gibson Cup again.

“Knowing Scott and Glentoran, they will carry on fighting and not give up,” said Wright.

“They will battle to the end, but I watched Linfield Swifts play and they had players like Noel Bailie, Steven Douglas, Jamie Mulgrew, Paul Munster and Curtis Allen among others in their team and the size and strength of their squad was obvious.

“It would take Linfield to have a lot of slips and Glentoran to avoid any mistakes to stop the Blues winning the title and that isn’t going to happen.”

Meanwhile, Wright is hoping striker Gary Browne resists the advances of Linfield and Portadown and agrees a new deal the club.

“Linfield have made him an offer, but we want him to accept a two-year contract we have offered him,” he added.

l Glentoran midfielders Jimmy Callacher and David Howland have both sIgned contract extensions until the end of the 2013/14 season.

Belfast Telegraph


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