Belfast Telegraph

Glens stars must show some fight to avoid boss Haveron's axe: McAlorum

By Alex Mills

Skipper Stephen McAlorum believes everyone is now playing for their future at Glentoran.

The ailing east Belfast team will end their Danske Bank Premiership campaign battling it out with the bottom five clubs in the table - how times have changed at The Oval.

Gary Haveron's boys haven't won a league game since January 28, when they claimed an impressive 3-1 result against Ards at Bangor.

If Glentoran are to alter that alarming statistic, they'll have to produce something special when they make the trip to the Warden Street Showgrounds today to face David Jeffrey's high-flying Ballymena United.

The only light on an otherwise horrible horizon for the once proud Belfast outfit is the fact that they still have a slim chance of squeezing into seventh place in the league table, which would guarantee them a slot in the European play-off system at the end of the season.

"That's what we have to be aiming for," said McAlorum. "But we still have a lot of work to do to get there. Dungannon Swifts are in pole position at the minute, they are three points above us. Ards, of course, are also in there.

"We've finished in the bottom six - and that's not where Glentoran Football Club needs to be. The league table doesn't lie. It's been a long, hard season - not a lot of things have gone right for us. But we have to keep our heads down and keep working at it."

Glentoran's woes continued last week when they suffered a 2-0 defeat at Coleraine - resulting in midfielder Eric Foley being dismissed, which automatically rules him out of action this weekend.

"We're not getting the rub of the green in games, but it's something we have to work our way through," said McAlorum.

"Every one (of the players) knows they are playing for contracts, which brings its own pressure.

"We now face another tough afternoon against one of the most improved teams in the league. David Jeffrey has really turned around the fortunes of Ballymena.

"The bottom line is that with the squad of players we have, we should not be in our current position."

McAlorum, however, insists that manager Haveron will get things right - sooner or later.

He added: "There is no one who works harder at the club. He's the first one at training and the last one to leave.

"Gary is the type of guy who wears his heart on his sleeve -he is giving this job everything and I've no doubt he'll get things right.

"He inherited most of the current squad and he's doing his best. He has some big decisions to make at the end of the season in terms of who goes and who stays.

"I know the supporters can become frustrated at times - and you can't blame them because our results have been poor, especially at home. It has been a season to forget.

"Gary needs a bit of time to bring in his own players.

"I've spoken to him at length and he has some great plans and projects in the pipeline for the club.

"The players now have to step up to the mark to hopefully get into that seventh place in the table. After that, anything can happen.

"Getting into Europe would mean so much to everyone at Glentoran. But to do that we have to start winning football games - and that starts at Ballymena on Saturday."

Meanwhile, Sky Blues boss Jeffrey will be without two key players for the game.

Captain Jim Ervin and striker Johnny McMurray will both sit out with a one-match suspension after each accumulating five bookings.

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