Belfast Telegraph

Patterson denies Glentoran change of heart

By Stuart McKinley

Rory Patterson last night insisted that he is not having second thoughts about joining Glentoran and claimed that there was nothing untoward going on when he spent three days training with Plymouth Argyle this week.

Not only did Patterson annoy Glens chairman Aubry Ralph when the Oval chief wasn’t made aware of the trip, his Coleraine counterpart Hugh Wade was also miffed after he only found out after the player had already flown out of Northern Ireland.

Patterson signed a pre-contract agreement with the Glens in January and is due to the east-Belfast club in the summer. Such agreements are recognised by FIFA and as such are as binding as a traditional contract.

“It was just training,” insisted Patterson last night.

“I was just asked to go over and train. I don’t have any second thoughts about going to Glentoran. I’ve signed what I’ve signed and I don’t know what the big hoohah is about. It was just a couple of days training.”

Plymouth manager Paul Mariner confirmed that Northern Ireland international Patterson had been at Home Park and shrugged off the matter of the player’s deal with Glentoran.

“He's training with us this week so we can have a look at him. He has been on our radar for quite some time,” said Mariner.

“Pre-contracts are worth what? I’ll leave it at that.”

Mariner may find out exactly what pre-contracts are worth if a complaint is lodged and his club is found guilty of enticing a player who is under contract.

A ban for the player and sanctions on the club such as being banned from signing players for a certain length of time among the punishments that FIFA reserve the right to impose.

Patterson missed Coleraine’s scoreless draw with Newry City on Tuesday night due to being in Devon, but he will be back in the line-up to face Portadown in this evening’s live Sky Sports clash at Shamrock Park.

The Bannsiders face Glentoran in the Co-operative Insurance Cup final next Saturday, but in terms of the league, tonight’s game is much bigger as the teams are now involved in a direct battle for a top six place, with two meetings in the next 12 days.

“Portadown are the only team who can catch us and we need to get the win to stay above them,” said Patterson.

“We don’t want to end up in the bottom six playing nothing matches with no meaning to them.

“We want to be playing against the top teams and the next few games are important.

“We can’t be thinking about the final though because the three points are important.”

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