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Haveron has already revitalised Glens, says McAlorum

By David Mason

Skipper Stephen McAlorum believes the Gary Haveron factor is now rubbing off on Glentoran.

The east Belfast club have lost only one of their last nine Danske Bank Premiership games - and they now have a place in the top six in their sights.

Manager Haveron's infectious personality and enthusiasm has not only ignited the players, but has lifted the expectation levels among the fans.

With David Jeffrey's Ballymena United due to leave a calling card at The Oval today, McAlorum, who has successfully returned from cruciate ligament surgery, insists that his team are now confident of winning every game.

"Gary has lifted everyone at the club since he has taken over," said McAlorum. "He wore his heart on his sleeve as a player and he's the same as a manager.

"He wants us to have that same combative style. You only need to look at our results since he has taken over.

"We now have great mental strength going into games."

Haveron has openly admitted he is privileged to manage a club with such a great history and tradition - and he wants the players to feel the same way.

"Gary has instilled a great sense of pride in the squad," said McAlorum. "He is not one to cut corners. He didn't cheat as a player and he doesn't expect it now he's a manager - he's up front with everyone. He calls a spade a spade.

"Even in training, his enthusiasm rubs off on everyone.

"So we all want to do well for him. Glentoran is a massive club - certainly one that should be up challenging with the top teams in the league.

"Yes, the financial problems have been well documented in recent years, but Gary is certainly going the right way about turning around the fortunes of the club."

Fast-improving Ballymena have already turned over the Glens this season, enjoying a 4-1 victory at the Showgrounds.

McAlorum expects it to be much tighter this time.

He added: "David Jeffrey has done a fantastic job since he moved up there.

"The big man has put his own stamp on things. He has made them more solid at the back and they have some dangerous boys up front.

"It will be a tough afternoon, I've no doubt about that. But we are coming off the back of a good result at Crusaders (2-2).

"I know Stephen Baxter went on record by stating they tortured us for 90 minutes, but that wasn't entirely the case. I think it was a little case of sour grapes because they didn't get all three points.

"But it's water under the bridge. It was good to come away from the home of the champions with a point - it's up to us to build on that.

"We haven't set any targets, but it would be great to break into the top six and get among the European qualification places."

And that is something the manager of today's opponents is acutely aware of and like McAlorum he is a fully paid-up member of the Haveron fan club.

"We're looking over our shoulder all the time," admitted Jeffrey.

"Glentoran are putting up a head of steam and look where Cliftonville are, at one stage they were behind us and look where they've got to.

"We have a fair idea where we are in the pecking order and Glentoran are one of those sides we want to try and get close to. They're a top-six side, we're not.

"You've got to say Gary has done a super job, he's come in and made his mark and the players are responding.

"He deserves great credit for the results, he's a bright, keen and very enthusiastic young man and I have to say I admired his work at Carrick Rangers.

"I thought he did a tremendous job there and he now has an opportunity at one of the biggest clubs in the league and he's doing very well so it will be a real test for us."

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