Belfast Telegraph

Eddie Patterson pledges to nurture rising Glentoran star Jonathan Smith

By Adrian Rutherford

Eddie Patterson has vowed not to repeat past mistakes by placing too much pressure on rising star Jonathan Smith.

The 18-year-old midfielder has made a big impression since joining in the summer.

He followed up his first start against Cliftonville two weeks ago with another stylish performance when facing Dungannon last weekend.

Patterson has been encouraged by Smith's start to life with the Glens, but has pledged he won't suffer the same problems which affected Jordan Stewart.

The winger, now at Swindon Town, featured more than Patterson intended in his first season, leading to burnout.

And the Glentoran boss said it was important not to place the same demands on Smith.

"Jonathan is an 18-year-old with a big future and he will be given an opportunity here," Patterson said. "But what we have to do is manage his game time in terms of the amount of time he's going to play.

"In Jordan's first season, we burnt him out.

"I take responsibility because he played too many games.

"So we have to watch how many games we play him in and what rests we give him in between to make sure that he's fresh and continually developing."

Smith joined Glentoran in the summer after returning from England.

He impressed in the reserves and was soon drafted into the first team.

"We've acknowledged the quality that he's got, we've recognised it and rewarded him with a place in the first team. The rest is up to him," continued Patterson.

"He offers us something different from Jordan - he's a different type of player. For me, he is a massive one for the future and Glentoran Football Club."

After successive defeats to Cliftonville and Harland & Wolff Welders, Glentoran got back on track with a 4-2 win at Stangmore Park last weekend.

Tomorrow they face a Ballinamallard side who sit second-bottom of the league.

Despite the Fermanagh team's struggles, Patterson is predicting a tough encounter.

"It's another massive game for us," he added.

"Only a good performance and a positive attitude will gain us three points.

"We know Ballinamallard are no pushovers. They are always a difficult team to play against."

The Glens have been decimated by injuries and suspensions in recent weeks.

Patterson has Jay Magee back from suspension, although Ciaran Caldwell, Jim O'Hanlon, Kym Nelson and Niall Henderson are still on the sidelines.

Former Portadown and Derry City defender Darren Kelly has been appointed as the new manager of Halifax Town.

The 36-year-old was dismissed by Oldham Town last month after just four months in charge of the League One side but was keen for a quick return.

Belfast Telegraph


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