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McDermott warns of Sky Blues threat to title shot

Danske Bank Premiership


Up and running: Andrew Mitchell was among the Glentoran goalscorers against Portadown on Saturday

Up and running: Andrew Mitchell was among the Glentoran goalscorers against Portadown on Saturday

�INPHO/Presseye/Matt Mackey

Up and running: Andrew Mitchell was among the Glentoran goalscorers against Portadown on Saturday

Mick McDermott admitted he was thrilled for striker Andrew Mitchell after he opened his Glentoran goal account at The Oval on Saturday.

The 27-year-old has been plagued by injury since moving from Glenavon last year, but he has now come out the other side and is beginning to display the form that made him one of the hottest properties in the Danske Bank Premiership.

Although Ruaidhri Donnelly's two goals helped him grab the headlines following the win over Portadown, Mitchell demonstrated his prowess in front of goal by thumping home a brilliant strike from 20 yards.

"Andy has had a tough time since joining us from Glenavon with injuries and stuff," said Glens boss McDermott.

"It's such a hard place to be as a forward because there is great competition for places.

"He inflamed his groin in the County Antrim Shield final.

"It was one of those irritating injuries and he couldn't get back, but our physio worked wonders with him.

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"I was delighted for him and hopefully he can now go on and show the form we know he is capable of."

Glentoran are back in action tonight, making the journey up the M2 to face David Jeffrey's Ballymena United at the Warden Street Showgrounds.

"They beat us at The Oval a few weeks back, so we know what to expect," added the Glentoran chief.

"They are a talented team, they are well organised and well managed.

"Ballymena are always a difficult to break down.

"I watched their game against Crusaders on Friday night, they were very resilient, although over the 90 minutes I think the Crues deserved to win.

"It could well have finished in a draw, only Ballymena missed a penalty late on, but prior to that result they had been on a great run.

"Even though they have had injuries, the players that have stepped in know the system well.

"We are expecting a tough, tough game - but they are all tough."

McDermott may well consider reshuffling his pack with the heavy fixture congestion up ahead.

He added: "There are a lot of games coming up and the good thing is the squad is almost 100 per cent healthy, apart from Conor McMenamin.

"We have a big squad, which is needed in this league.

"Gael Bigirimana was away on international duty last week and he played 90 minutes against Morocco in midweek.

"He also played 90 minutes last week against Crusaders, so we were going to give him a break on Saturday.

"I can tell you, 90 minutes at international level is like playing two matches.

"He only got back on Thursday, so he had a lot travelling as well.

"The debate was, should we start him against Portadown? But he's a durable lad and he's been around the game.

"He felt good, so that's why we used him against Portadown.

"What pleased me most on Saturday was the clean sheet and some of the quality of our play.

"I asked the players to be patient and keep moving the ball and they carried out my instructions.

"We had a little bit more width which caused them problems. We controlled the game and managed the game and really denied them anything clear cut.

"This league is a great leveller in terms of conditions and facilities. Playing styles differ practically every week.

"There are very few leagues in the world like that.

"I still think the likes of Saturday was a great advert for summer football."

Ballymena United v Glentoran

The Showgrounds, Tonight, 7.30pm

(Live on BBC IPlayer)

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