Belfast Telegraph

Glentoran go for the kill as they chase a perfect festive run


Full steam ahead: Glens boss Mick McDermott will show Dungannon no mercy
Full steam ahead: Glens boss Mick McDermott will show Dungannon no mercy

By Alex Mills

Glentoran boss Mick McDermott has urged his side to show no mercy when they make the trip to Stangmore Park to face struggling Dungannon Swifts today.

The east Belfast side approach the game in the best possible shape, having pocketed all nine points from their three quick-fire festive fixtures - including a victory over Big Two rivals Linfield - whereas Kris Lindsay's Swifts are spiraling worryingly towards the Danske Bank Premiership drop zone.

Even though the Co Tyrone team have conceded 10 goals in their last two league games, McDermott insists there will be no room for complacency.

"It's a difficult place to go," he said. "Yes, (Dungannon) are going through a bad patch, but when that happens to any team, all it takes is one result to give you a spark.

"They are now looking for that spark. They'll be looking for it in every game they play, so we don't want to be the team that gives them the spark that turns their season around.

"We have prepared for it like any other game because it's an important fixture, we know a victory would really put the icing on what has already been a good festive campaign for us."

Having made six changes to the team that defeated Ballymena United at the weekend - courtesy of two last gasp goals from Robbie McDaid and Navid Nasseri - McDermott again plans to reshape his squad.

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"We have a good squad so we will again refresh things, especially with the Irish Cup tie against Portadown looming at the weekend," he added.

"We now have the ability to rotate players.

"Our new players, Ciaran O'Connor and Keith Cowan, won't be registered in time, but they will be available for the cup tie. The games are coming thick and fast so there is two that will help strengthen the squad.

"We are trying to build a squad and a team that can compete every week and I think we are well on the way to doing that."

McDermott, however, will be without the versatile Cameron Stewart, who sustained an injury on Saturday, while young striker Paul O'Neill was dismissed following his part in an ugly brawl that developed late in the game.

He added: "Cameron pulled a hamstring. To be honest, I was a bit relieved because they way he went down, I thought it was a knee problem.

"That's the risk playing with 48 hours. Your risk of injuries skyrockets. That's why we made six changes to the team.

"Cameron is a fit lad, so for him to blow a hamstring backs up the data that playing within 48 hours is really high risk.

"It's unfortunate, but I'll take the blame for that one.

"I know the risks, but I have to take decisions to get a result as well as trying to protect the players as much as I can.

"It was also a risk of playing Elvio (van Overbeek), Cricky (Chris) Gallagher, Connor (Pepper), but that what happens at this time of the year."

As for O'Neill's dismissal, McDermott added: "I have no sympathy for a player who raises his hand in this game - there is no place for it in football.

"It can't happen, and players should be punished accordingly, I agree with that completely.

"There was also a two-footed tackle from behind on Robbie McDaid late on, there is no place in football for that either.

"We don't want to go back to those black days in Irish League football, we're trying to upgrade the product so that sort of thing cannot happen.

"We don't want to go back to the dark days of muddy pitches and boys getting stuck into each other. We want to see football games, not bar brawls."

Dungannon S vs Glentoran

Danske Bank Premiership

Stangmore Park, Today, 3pm

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