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Glentoran can rock Cliftonville says new Oval boss Alan Kernaghan

By Graham Luney

Published 18/11/2015

Cup clash: Alan Kernaghan’s charges take on Cliftonville in the League Cup tonight
Cup clash: Alan Kernaghan’s charges take on Cliftonville in the League Cup tonight

Alan Kernaghan has barely had time to collect his thoughts as his Glentoran reign gets off to an explosive start.

The former Republic of Ireland defender watched his side crash to a 3-0 defeat at Crusaders in the Danske Bank Premiership on Saturday and the job doesn't get any easier with a trip to Cliftonville in tonight's League Cup quarter-final battle (7.45pm).

No points, three goals conceded and two men sent off weren't the statistics that Kernaghan would have wanted from his competitive debut as Glens boss, but the 48-year-old has been impressed by the commitment shown by his players.

Though disappointed his side couldn't rock the champions and league leaders at Seaview, Kernaghan is confident that they can hit back in style against the Reds at Solitude.

"Saturday seemed to be a never ending day and it dragged until the kick-off," admitted Kernaghan.

"I was happy in terms of getting involved, but it has been a strange week.

"The players have been great and I can't complain about the effort and the quality that they showed and I'm very positive that we can be stronger for the game against Cliftonville.

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"There is a semi-final place up for grabs and we want to take it."

The Glens will be without suspended duo Marcus Kane and Niall Henderson, who were both red carded at Seaview, but Willie Garrett could be ready to return to the squad after injury.

"The two guys who were sent off against Crusaders are obviously not available and we had two 16-year-olds on the bench because we are struggling with injuries to a certain extent," added former Manchester City defender Kernaghan.

"Hopefully Willie Garrett will be available for us.

"It was my decision to leave him out against the Crues as he's been feeling his hamstring and without us being 100 per cent sure I'd rather he was out for a week than six weeks if he tears it properly so I was taking a long-term view."

Kernaghan will need all his players on the pitch for 90 minutes to rattle Gerard Lyttle's troops this evening.

"The annoying bit for us against Crusaders is we gave the referee a chance to make those decisions and we can't afford to do that against Cliftonville," he added.

"We've got to be more disciplined in our approach."

The Reds are unbeaten over 90 minutes since Lyttle took over from Tommy Breslin in September.

Their only defeat came in a County Antrim Shield quarter-final against Linfield and they have already beaten the Glens in the league.

Lyttle may well stick with the same team that beat Linfield 2-1 on Saturday, but he has young left-back Levi Ives available again after he was on international duty with the Northern Ireland under-19 team.

Irish League sides observed a minute's silence on Saturday in tribute to those who died in the terrorist attacks in Paris.

Kernaghan added: "The tragic events in France put everything including football into perspective. Some things that happen in this world baffle you and what happened in France certainly baffles and upsets me."

H&W Welders are holding a sportsman's service as part of the club's 50th anniversary commemorations.

Former Glentoran and Northern Ireland winger Stuart Elliott will be the speaker at the service, which will take place at St Brendan's Church of Ireland, Larkfield road, Sydenham, on Sunday, November 29 at 11.30am.

Other guests from the world of football will be in attendance and all football lovers are invited to be part of the club's celebrations.

Belfast Telegraph

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