Glentoran manager Eddie Patterson forced to rely on Jordan Stewart
Glentoran manager Eddie Patterson has admitted he's found it difficult to give the club's rising star Jordan Stewart the rest and recuperation he needs to flourish.
Stewart, who turns 19 next month, is one of the Irish League's most exciting prospects and his performances have attracted the admiring glances of cross-channel scouts.
However, although the Glens wonderkid has all the attributes to make the grade across the water, it would be wrong to expect too much from the rough diamond.
Stewart has produced some sensational strikes and silky moves but like any other youngster he will tire when thrusted into the hustle and bustle of the Premiership too often.
Glentoran's squad has been depleted by injuries and suspensions and opportunities to rest the teenage sensation have been limited. Now midfielder Marcus Kane is set for a long spell on the sidelines after sustaining a knee injury in a reserves game last week.
Stewart was not in the firing line this week for the 5-1 Setanta Cup defeat at Shamrock Rovers and Patterson would like to see Stewart develop at the right pace.
"We have asked a lot of the young players because of the situation we are in," said the Glens boss ahead of today's home Irish Cup sixth round replay against Armagh City.
"We would have liked to have rested Jordan and not relied on him as much but we have not been able to. The team needs more drive and competition for places but we have lost some big name players and everyone can see the squad has a youthful look.
"Suspensions and injuries have taken their toll but we are delighted that Ryan O'Neill will return from America and be like a new signing for us."
* Linfield have signalled their intention to appeal the Irish Football Association's decision to fine the club £3,000 following sectarian singing at the County Antrim Shield semi-final against Cliftonville at Windsor Park in October.
The Reds were hit with the same financial punishment and an additional £250 fine after their supporters caused an "explosion" during the game. The north Belfast club said they are also likely to make an appeal.
A Blues statement read: "The Board of Directors have sought legal advice on the matter and do intend to appeal this decision."