Donegal Celtic manager Paddy Kelly has called upon his club’s “dormant” supporters to show their faces at Celtic Park today where champions Linfield will be expected to further compound the Wee Hoops’ relegation fears.
Kelly, who must prepare his side without the suspended Andrew Cleary, Liam Watson, talisman striker Paul McVeigh and the injured Daniel Hanna, Aiden McVeigh and Thomas Lambe, is hoping the west of the city can witness a first-ever victory over the Blues as they enter 2011 and January’s transfer window with merely a prayer and a lotto ticket.
Kelly said: “I meet people every day who tell me they follow Donegal Celtic and want us to do well in the Premiership. It would be great if they showed up for this game and gave us the support we need to survive in the league.
“We need every boost we can get at this time. Everything has gone against us in terms of injuries, suspensions and budgets but now is the time to dig in and I believe we have the character to turn this around.”
While defender Cleary is suspended, the player is also likely to miss the remainder of the season due to illness, having contracted pneumonia.
Kelly added: We are all concerned for Andy, who has been one of our best performers this season. The players want to overcome Linfield for him because his has missed Christmas due to being so unwell and we don’t expect him to feature again this season.”
Former Linfield striker Mark Dickson is unlikely to start against David Jeffrey’s men — the frontman is still short of match fitness following a knee operation.
Defender Barry Spence is also ruled out of action for 18 weeks due to recent commencement of training to become a fire-fighter — a talent Celtic could do with right now. Kelly is forced to consider a number of his reserve team players for this end-of-year tussle and will elevate young forward Conor Glenholmes to his plans.
“We have never beaten Linfield and we are not expected to this time — but it is a game we simply have to go all out to win,” added Kelly.