One of Glentoran’s few fit defenders, Johnny Taylor, says the players will have to dig even deeper to overcome the injury crisis that has enveloped the team.
With Jamie McGovern, Jimmy Callacher and Ciaran Martyn already out in the long term, the Glens were dealt a further blow during their County Antrim Shield win over Crusaders on Tuesday night when Sean Ward was stretchered off with a broken collarbone.
Fellow centre-back and a player who, like Ward, has been one of boss Scott Young’s most consistent performers this season, Colin Nixon, was also forced off at half time with a hamstring strain and he now faces a race to be fit for Saturday’s Carling premiership clash with Lisburn Distillery.
That fact that Young has been left with the challenge of bringing glory to the Oval with the smallest of squads and on a shoestring budget has been widely talked about this season, but the reality of working with so few has really hit home now and the rookie manager admitted after that game with the Crues that he doesn’t know if he will have 16 players available to him.
According to Taylor who, as a natural centre back, has been filling in on the right following McGovern’s injury, all of those still fit and able to pull on the jersey can do is continue to work hard during this wretched run of luck.
“It’s a devastating blow to lose Sean and Colin Nixon if he is going to be out for a while because they have been our two best players this season,” said the ex Northern Ireland under 21 star.
“We are really down to the bare bones with Jamie, Jimmy and Ciaran already out for a long time and it’s a situation that I don’t think I can ever remember happening while I have been playing.
“We have a small squad here and we can’t really afford to lose any players, particularly players as good as the ones we are missing.
“But as a team, we have been showing a fair bit of fight this season and it is up to us now, the ones who can play to just battle even more and put in an even bigger shift.
“It’s going to be hard work we all know that but getting injuries is unfortunately part and parcel of football and we just have to roll our sleeves up and get on with it.
“We have a great team here, everyone is willing to give 200 per cent and that is the type of attitude that we need from everyone now. Some might have to fill in in positions they may not have played before but everyone has to step up and play their part.”