Glentoran expecting hot reception from Newry City
Scott Young has warned his Glentoran players to expect one of their toughest games of the season tomorrow when they travel to face Newry City.
On the face of it, the fixture would for most appear to be a walk in the park for the Glens, however there are other factors that have come together to ensure that Young's men will be given a difficult task when they head for the border.
For a start, teams do tend to up their game when either of the Big Two come to town and City have already turned in some good displays against Linfield this season.
But aside from that, there are two other aspects that has prompted Young to speak about City's threat, namely the fact that their position at the bottom of the table means they are fighting for their Carling Premiership future.
And as well as that, the small matter of a new manager, ex-Glentoran defender Pat McGibbon, who takes over for the first time, charged with the task of saving City from the drop.
There has already been some controversy over this game with the two sides agreeing to switch the fixture to tonight, only for Newry chairman Paul McKenna to pull the plug and reverse the decision, but Young didn't want to comment on that: “I'll leave that to the vice-chairman (Aubry Ralph),” he said.
The Glens boss preferred to stick to matters on the pitch, and he knows that snatching three points won't be easy.
“I will tell the players that this could be one of the toughest matches that they have played this season,” he said.
“We are coming up against a team that are fighting for their lives to stay in the league and they will be battling all day to try and get the points.
“They also have a new boss in Pat McGibbon taking over, he will have fresh ideas, shake the team up a bit maybe and he brings a lot of experience with him, from his time as a player.
“You always find that when a new manager comes in, players up their game anyway because they want to impress, so that is something that we are going to be very cautious of.”
The Glens — in the middle of a glut of games that has pushed them to the limit — are coming off the back of a decent display in losing narrowly to Dundalk in the Setanta Sports Cup on Monday night.
That game will be remembered for the chances missed by the Glens and Young has stated, as he has done a lot, that they can’t afford to keep missing opportunities in front of goal.
“I thought we played very, very well against Dundalk and lost to a wonder goal from Mark Quigley but we had plenty of chances to win that game — very good, clear chances that we didn’t take and we suffered because of that,” he said.
“When chances like like come along you have to take them and that goes for the game with Newry too because they are going to be tighter at the back now and so we might not get as many opportunities.”
Young has a bigger game to deal with just 48 hours later with the Irish Cup replay, disgracefully from the point of view of both sides, thanks to Uefa's elitist rule which bans the playing of top flight games on Champions' League nights.
He can’t look too far ahead, but injuries are totting up and not making it easy for him.
“We have Paul Leeman struggling (foot), Sean Ward has food poisoning, David Howland is out for a few more weeks and Richard Gibson has torn ankle ligaments.
“We don't have a big squad as it is so we are being pushed to the limit.”