Glentoran skipper Paul Leeman says he and his team-mates can’t afford to fall to yet another home defeat if they are to keep up with league leaders and fierce rivals Linfield.
Two recent losses at the Oval — to Lisburn Distillery and Dungannon Swifts — caused much soul searching amongst the players and management, the latter particularly as boss Scott Young admitted that he had warned his men about slipping up the way they did against the Whites.
Dungannon’s victory was particularly galling for Young and co. coming as it did off the back of two good away wins for the Glens over Crusaders and Coleraine.
Now they find themselves in a similar scenario — taking on a team in their own backyard that they are expected to beat, having just picked up a decent result, this time against Portadown.
Newry City are Glentoran’s latest challenge with Leeman admitting that building on the three points earned at Shamrock Park is essential.
“Losing to Dungannon was really disappointing because we had been saying that we had to start putting a run of wins together and we let ourselves down,” said the skipper.
“We had got two good wins and then just didn’t turn up that day and it’s hard to know why because we had gone into the match focused and well prepared.
“Thankfully we bounced back from that last week and got a really hard earned win against Portadown and now we really have to take that and carry it forward.
“We have said it before, but we have to start getting some consistency and start putting a run of wins on the board if we are to stay up there.”
In recent years Newry City have given the Glens a tough time in east-Belfast, but haven’t come away with too many victories.
Indeed, the 1-0 win at the Oval in December last year thanks to a Stephen Garrett penalty was their first success there in almost exactly a decade.
There will be something of a different task facing Leeman and his Glentoran team-mates tomorrow though as the Bordermen arrive in the capital with a flea in their ear from boss Gerry Flynn.
Flynn last week placed almost the entire team on the transfer list following a defeat to Ballymena United and whether he was attempting to get a reaction from the players only the boss knows.
Either way, Leeman is expecting a difficult test tomorrow.
“They always give us a tough game and this won’t be any different,” he said.
“Everybody wants to beat Glentoran and they are going to be up for this one no matter what has been going on.
“But we are confident ourselves after getting a good win against Portadown last week.”