Belfast Telegraph

Glentoran can restore glory days by following Coleraine's blueprint, says Curtis Allen

By Graham Luney

Curtis Allen believes that Glentoran should follow the path of his former club Coleraine in order to once again become a force in the Irish League.

The Bannsiders have built a title-chasing team based largely on bringing young players through the ranks and striker Allen feels that for The Oval outfit to challenge for major honours in the future they need to look at doing the same.

Having missed out on finishing in the top six of the Danske Bank Premiership, the Glens play their first post-split fixture away to Ards today.

It was a 2-1 defeat at home to Ards in February that proved to be Gary Haveron's final game as Glens boss, with Ronnie McFall coming in until the end of the season.

Dungannon Swifts boss Rodney McAree is the No.1 choice of the board to take over in the summer. Whoever is appointed, Allen says they need time.

"Glentoran need to mirror what Coleraine have done in the past few years," said the talented striker.

"When I was there (at Coleraine) they were a good team but just a little bit far off.

"They have brought in hungry, fit, young players without fear who maybe want to get across the water.

"Glentoran is a massive club but since I've been here nearly five years we've had three managers and two interims which is crazy when you think about it.

"For Glentoran it will take time and we need to bring a manager in who will be backed over a period of time with small goals set in place, not let's try and win the league next season.

"If we can put those small marginal gains in it may add up to something big.

"I think a problem may be bringing players in.

"It used to be Linfield and Glentoran would fight over the best players.

"Now you have Crusaders, Coleraine, Ballymena and even Larne and the problem is these clubs may put some more money in.

"But if I was a young player and I was looking to move somewhere, Glentoran is a fantastic club with lots of history, lots of fans and let's be honest if you are 22 and go to Crusaders are you going to play?

"You would sit on the bench and be a bit-part player but at Glentoran you will get chances to play for a big club, so what an opportunity."

Allen has been one of the bright spots for the Glens this season, scoring 21 goals, and he says a disappointing campaign could still bring European joy at the end of it.

"I think we are lucky that seventh place will still get into the (European) play-offs," Allen told the BetMcLean Football Show on Cool FM.

"Obviously it is not ideal for the club in terms of attendances and as a player I'd love to be playing in the bigger games that would have meant something and stuck the sword in a couple of the big boys going for the league, but we need to stay focused and hopefully we can qualify for Europe, so we have to keep believing."

Meanwhile, Allen's former club Linfield host Ballymena United at Windsor Park this afternoon.

Sky Blues manager David Jeffrey, whose side cannot improve on their present sixth place in the standings, said: "I will have no problem motivating my players because the reality is if they want to remain at the club they have to perform.

"We have said to the players, 'You play for yourself, you give your best and then your future sorts itself out'."

With four games left in the league, United are guaranteed a sixth-placed finish as they trail fifth-placed Cliftonville by 14 points.

David Healy's Blues share third spot in the standings with Glenavon and after a disappointment campaign that failed to unlock the trophy cabinet, they will be looking to at least secure a Europa League place and the lucrative funds that come with qualification.

Belfast Telegraph

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