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Full Time

Glentoran must land European cash if we want to challenge: Morris

 

By Graham Luney

Elliott Morris believes Glentoran must hit the European jackpot this weekend to kick off the club's rebuilding job.

The Glens will take on Cliftonville at Solitude tomorrow (3pm) with the winner progressing to the Europa League qualifiers and pocketing at least £200,000.

Ronnie McFall will leave his caretaker role after the game and a new manager will be appointed, but their task will be significantly harder if the club miss out on the cash windfall.

The Glens, however, will go into the play-off decider brimming with confidence after fighting back from 2-0 down to stun Linfield 4-3 at Windsor Park on Wednesday night.

Goalkeeper Morris, who has been with the club since 2002, believes a season which saw the club slide down to the bottom half of the table could still finish with a rich reward.

"In terms of building for the future, European money is vital for Glentoran," insisted the former West Brom man.

"It's the only way we can get that rebuilding process moving and that's why we need to take this opportunity.

"If this club want to be back challenging the top sides in the league we need to get the European money to move us in the right direction, and things certainly won't change overnight, they will take time.

"There isn't a lot of money at the club to invest in the squad but we have a golden chance to change that."

The Glens were given an unexpected lift a few hours before kick-off on Wednesday when the Irish FA Appeals Board overturned the decision of the Association's Disciplinary Committee to hit Curtis Allen with a three-match ban for violent conduct during his side's 4-2 win over Dungannon Swifts last month.

Morris added: "Curtis is our main striker and goalscorer, take him away from the team and you take his goals away.

"You don't have the same attacking threat and all the boys need to have him.

"But we have also seen how boys work hard around Curtis, including Robbie McDaid, who set up the fourth goal."

The beaten Irish Cup finalists are up next for the Glens at Solitude, and it promises to be another difficult assignment for the east Belfast side, but Morris believes his side have a fighting chance.

"Cliftonville are strong at home and have a fantastic strikeforce," added the 37-year-old.

"I think they are a more dangerous team than Linfield and can hurt you a lot more.

"They don't concede many goals at Solitude, and we are the underdogs, but the boys will be confident after scoring four goals at Windsor."

The Glens are stepping up their search for a new manager to take charge from the end of the season and former Dungannon Swifts boss Darren Murphy is one of the leading candidates after holding talks with club representatives.

Morris added: "In the past we have appointed managers who have lacked that knowledge and it hasn't worked. In my view either the manager or at least someone in his backroom staff needs to have a good understanding of the league and its players. We aren't in a position where we can pick and choose the players we want.

"Glentoran need to be finding a few rough diamonds and talented young players with a bright future in the game."

Belfast Telegraph

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