Belfast Telegraph

Friday 29 August 2014

Give us a break, snaps Glentoran boss McDonald

Glentoran boss Alan McDonald

Alan McDonald last night took a swipe at the fixture schedule by claiming that the packed programme is unfair on both players and fans.

And the Glentoran manager wants to see the 12-team Irish FA Premiership revamped after just over a season in existence or another competition cut from the calendar.

The Glens face their tenth game of the season when they travel to Glenavon this evening and by the end of September they will have been involved in a total of 14 matches — not including Europe.

Contrast that to Arsenal, whose Champions League clash against Standard Liege tonight will be only their seventh in total this campaign.

“The amount of games we are playing in such a short space of time is suicidal,” said McDonald.

“The vast majority of our players are part-time and some have had to take time off work to play in midweek matches.

“We are playing Glenavon this week, then we have Coleraine on Saturday in the Setanta Sports Cup and because of that our league game against Institute has to be fitted in next week. We can’t even put it back to a time when we might not have as many games to play.

“We also have our match against Crusaders to fit in after it was postponed last weekend because of international call-ups. And that’s before we come into the bad weather when there might be postponements.

“It’s unfair to expect part-time players to play so often and we haven’t been able to have a proper training or coaching session in about a month.

“I think the whole thing needs to be looked at any maybe go back to playing each other twice in the league which would free up Saturday’s for the Setanta Cup or Co-operative Insurance Cup or else drop a competition to cut down on the midweek matches.

“It’s unfair on fans too, expecting them to travel every midweek and in a recession they maybe aren’t going to go twice a week, which doesn’t help anyone.”

That postponement against Crusaders and the fact that the Glens are in Setanta Cup action this weekend harms their hopes of building up some momentum in their fight to retain the league title.

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