Glens ready to roar after injury crisis, says Haveron
Glentoran boss Gary Haveron is convinced there are better days just around the corner.
The east Belfast boys have won only three of their last 12 Danske Bank Premiership games and, for the first time this season, dropped out of the top six following their loss at Cliftonville.
But the queue for the treatment room is slowly but surely thinning out, with John McGuigan the only long-term casualty.
It's no coincidence that Glentoran's form dipped when more than half of the first-team squad was sitting in the grandstand.
Haveron is the first to admit that results have been poor but, with a hectic festive season about to kick in, the manager has a more optimistic approach.
"Thankfully we are getting a few bodies back again," he said. "We simply can't afford to have so many players missing. If I can get our best players on the pitch, I'll back them against any team. We may be shy of one or two experienced heads but, when everyone is fit, we have the makings of a good squad."
The Glens have failed to hit the net in their last three league games, but Haveron is reluctant to point the finger at Curtis Allen and Robbie McDaid, suggesting it's a collective problem.
"People are quick to criticise our strikers when we don't score," said Haveron. "Curtis has been putting the ball in the net for seasons, but everyone has to take responsibility.
"Robbie is still trying to adapt to the league after coming back from England. It's a big change for him. He is still only 20 and is still learning. There is no doubt the goals will come."
With the Glens due to visit relegation-haunted Carrick Rangers at the Loughshore Hotel Arena today, Haveron admits he'll be taking nothing for granted.
"They haven't enjoyed the results their performances have merited - a bit like ourselves," he said. "They are fighting for their lives, so we have to be prepared to roll up the sleeves. We dropped out of the top six, our priority is to get back there."
Haveron added: "Nathan Kerr returns, which is a bonus. Tiernan McNicholl will also have a fitness test. James Knowles came down with a bug in midweek but he should be included."