Belfast Telegraph

Glentoran off to a flyer but Linfield clash will be the acid test, says Haveron


By Alex Mills

Glentoran boss Gary Haveron takes a great deal of satisfaction from his team's unbeaten start to the league campaign - but he insists the hard work is only starting.

The east Belfast boys are currently inhaling the rarified air of a top three place in the Danske Bank Premiership table, breathing down the necks of Coleraine and Linfield just a point behind the second placed champions.

It's quite some time since Glentoran kept such company. Perhaps the sleeping giant is about to rise?

They may have laboured in last week's win against Warrenpoint Town, but Haveron was quick to point out that "it was a game we probably would have lost last season." However, the acid test is yet to come.

In fact, their new found form will be scrutinised in thorough detail when they travel across town to face Big Two rivals Linfield at Windsor Park on Saturday.

Glentoran last won at the international stadium back in 2014, which heaps a little bit of extra pressure on Haveron's youthful side.

"It was important we carry a bit of momentum into the Big Two game," he said. "It's a difficult place to go to get points. Linfield's home form has been excellent.

"But we'll go there and have a go... it's just the way we play. Sometimes if we sit off teams too much we can struggle, so we'll go there to have a right good go at it.

"We have a lot of energy in the side. We want to play the right way because I know how important it is for the fans. If we can play the right way, with the right energy levels, we can match any team.

"It's still early doors and we are not becoming carried away. But the early signs are good. We are still learning and we are still improving. Yes, it's nice to go unbeaten. We make mistakes, but the boys are being honest and trying to learn from them. I keep saying it, but we are a young side."

Haveron has been impressed by the form of his two front men, Curtis Allen and Robbie McDaid - a recent arrival from York City - the pair grabbing the goals to down Warrenpoint last Saturday.

"In Curtis Allen and Robbie McDaid we have two boys who know where the net is," added Haveron. "They just want to score goals.

"It was a fantastic strike by Curtis (free kick) to get us on our way last week. I was pleased for him because he works very, very hard.  McDaid is the same. He works his socks off. His goal was the sign of a real goalscorer.

"John McGuigan has also been fantastic since he's come to the club (from Warrenpoint) in the summer.

"Unfortunately, he picked up an injury in the League Cup win over Loughgall. I didn't use him against Warrenpoint because I wanted to protect him. He will be a big player for us this season. Hopefully he'll be okay for the Blues game."

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