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Annagh out to crank up the heat on Kernaghan

Published 30/08/2016

Under-fire: Glentoran boss Alan Kernaghan is facing growing pressure at the Oval
Under-fire: Glentoran boss Alan Kernaghan is facing growing pressure at the Oval

Glentoran's season may not have hit crisis point yet but minnows Annagh United are planning to give Alan Kernaghan and his men an almighty headache tonight.

The Glens will arrive on Portadown's Tandragee Road under considerable pressure to keep their League Cup hopes alive after a poor start to their Danske Bank Premiership campaign.

A lacklustre performance in a 4-1 defeat at Coleraine sparked angry fan protests and the Oval faithful will not tolerate below-par displays for much longer.

The Championship side haven't much to shout about either after losing their opening three league games, conceding 11 goals in the process.

Boss Dean Smith knows the seven-time League Cup winners are feeling the heat but he's licking his lips at the prospect of inflicting more pain on the east Belfast giants.

"This game is a free one for us while all the pressure is on Glentoran," said Smith.

"A club of the size and with the reputation of Glentoran cannot lose too many games and it doesn't look good when a Moldova international (Alex Leu) and Nacho Novo are part of a squad that is under-performing.

"No one expects us to get a result, particularly as there could be a Glentoran backlash after their result at Coleraine.

"They will be looking to come down here and put in a strong performance but that's what we are planning to do and it could be our platform to turn around our season.

"On paper when you look at the two squads we don't stand a chance but football doesn't work like that and it's a cup game which means anything can happen. We beat Glenavon this time last year in the same competition on penalty kicks so hopefully lightning will strike twice.

"The boys who played in that game can be inspired by those memories.

"We are all looking forward to it."

Smith believes a solid defensive performance from his side in the opening 20 minutes could hold the key to a surprise result. "They might be nervous and edgy to begin with while if we can frustrate them in the opening 20 minutes we can cause them problems," he added.

"The boys are looking forward to it.

"They have quality players we will need to keep an eye on but hopefully after our poor start we can start to put things right and this is the perfect occasion to do that.

"You just have to get back on the bike and go again. What a game this is to get back on track."

Belfast Telegraph

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