Belfast Telegraph

Connor refuses to dwell on cup semi defeat as Institute face crucial month

Sean Connor
Sean Connor

By Alex Mills

Even though Sean Connor was disappointed with his team's League Cup semi-final defeat by Crusaders in midweek, he admits he didn't lose any sleep over it.

The Institute boss prefers to look at the bigger picture - and that's keeping his team in the Danske Bank Premiership.

It would have been fairytale stuff had the north west boys upturned the applecart and defeated Stephen Baxter's boys, but it's already wiped from his memory bank.

Connor's priority is now for his team to achieve back-to-back league wins when they travel to the Loughshore Hotel Arena to face Carrick Rangers today.

"December is a big month, starting with Carrick Rangers," he said. "We have worked really hard picking up points against a lot of the bigger teams... last week's victory over Coleraine was a massive boost.

"Probably a lot of people didn't give us much hope against Coleraine, Ballymena, Glentoran or Crusaders, where we picked up good points.

"Saturday is probably a six-pointer for both teams. Like ourselves, Carrick have achieved some great results and they'll be buoyed by their fantastic (6-2) win against Glenavon.

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"I know it was nice to be involved in a semi-final... for the players, board and supporters. For me, the focus is all about the Premier League - that's where we want to stay.

"Although I've been happy with the boys' effort and commitment, we have to start making inroads into picking up points over the next four or five games to get us up the table."

Connor will be without talisman striker Joe McCready for the game. He was shamefully sent off in midweek for kicking out at Crues skipper Colin Coates.

"I'd no problems with the dismissal," added O'Connor. "I wasn't happy about it, so I dealt with it internally.

"McCready hasn't done us any favours for what he did because he will now miss out on a massive match.

"When we went down to 10 men, I actually thought we got a little foothold on the game... I thought we played some really nice football.

"Shane McNamee came on who, at 19 years of age, is a fabulous footballer. He has a great touch and good vision. We have to start giving him a little platform to play on. We also got Cormac Burke back injury."

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