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Glentoran manager Patterson looks to future with youth

Eddie Patterson returns to Solitude today as a Glentoran manager determined to maintain the philosophy he worked under in north Belfast.

There’s been precious little to shout about at the Oval this season as the fans count down the seconds to the final whistle signalling the end of a nightmare campaign.

There could be more comings and goings on Mersey Street than at Heathrow Airport this summer as Patterson rebuilds.

But if there’s one shard of light through the east Belfast gloom, it is a number of young players coming though the ranks and impressing.

The Carling Premiership has been a good springboard for young players with ambition and the likes of Rory Donnelly and Stuart Dallas have got their ticket to the big time.

Some of the Oval young guns, including John McGuigan, Calum Birney and Martin Murray, are thirsty to impress and catch the eye.

Every team needs the right blend of youth and experience but Patterson is excited by what he sees coming off the production line.

“We have good kids at the club, teenagers who have so much talent and ability,” said Patterson. “I’ve always held the view from my days at Cliftonville that young players deserve a chance and while you also need experienced heads to guide them, they need opportunities to gain confidence and experience.

“John’s in the Under-18 schoolboys team and Calum’s another one young enough to feature in youth teams. It’s a big positive for us and we need guys like Colin Nixon and Carsy (Stephen Carson) to help them realise their potential.

“It’s my job to use them wisely but it’s exciting to see them develop.”

Meanwhile, the Glentoran Supporters Committee (1923) have dug deep to cover the costs of the club’s training facilities until Christmas.

The club has coughed up £2,000 towards the costs of hiring the training facilities at Shaws Bridge.

Belfast Telegraph