Glendinning now keen to set fresh benchmark for Glens in title push
Published 04/04/2008 | 13:07
Mark Glendinning believes that his presence on the bench can serve to inspire Glentoran to the Irish Premier League title as much as his being on the pitch.
The full-back is putting his injury nightmare behind him after 18-months on the sidelines in an attempt to help bring the Gibson Cup to east Belfast.
Glendinning, who turned 38 on Wednesday, finds himself in a similar position to five years ago, when he returned from injury to help push the Glens over the finishing line, chipping in with a couple of important goals along the way and he would love to make a similar impact this time.
"I have been out for a long time so it is good to be back playing football again, even if my two first-team appearances have lasted 30 seconds and five minutes," he said.
"I am there, though, if I am needed and I feel ready to play.
"The boys who are in the team have been playing well, Jason Hill has slotted into left-back brilliantly and Kyle Neill has been really good on the left side too.
"I think myself and the other players who are on the bench can put pressure on the boys to keep playing at the top of their game because they know others are waiting to take their place.
"Linfield have that, with David Jeffrey not being afraid to take anyone out of the team if they aren't on top of their game and that's what we need if we are going to catch them."
Just three points separate the two Belfast giants as the final four rounds of league matches approach.
Victory for the Glens at Seaview tomorrow would guarantee a massive clash between the Blues and the Glens next Saturday, no matter what the outcome of Linfield's home game against Newry City.
As things stand, that Windsor Park contest is a must-win game for the Glens and Glendinning believes every league match Alan McDonald's men play between now and the end of the season takes on that tag.
"My personal opinion is that we need to win all four matches if we are going to have a chance of winning the league," he said.
"It may come down to goal difference in the end, that is how tight it is.
"Even if we do win our four games that still might not be enough, but at least we can say we did all we could."
And Glendinning has paid tribute to the achievements that the Glens have already made in recent weeks.
"It's not that long ago that everyone was saying we were out of it and the league was a two-horse race," he said.
"We've come from seven points behind to three and that's nothing with four matches still to play and us playing the other teams in the top three.
"There is still a chance of winning the league and while there is still a chance we'll keep fighting."