Belfast Telegraph

Glentoran will show off quality squad depth against Ballyclare, says Millar

Increased options: Paul Millar (right) expects Mick McDermott to give a number of young players their chance in tonight’s game
Increased options: Paul Millar (right) expects Mick McDermott to give a number of young players their chance in tonight’s game

By Alex Mills

Assistant boss Paul Millar is demanding the same again when Glentoran face Ballyclare Comrades in the first round of the Toals County Antrim Shield at the Oval tonight.

The Championship side made the trip to east Belfast a fortnight ago only to consume a thumping 5-1 defeat in the League Cup, with striker Jonny Frazer inflicting most of the damage by bagging a 24-minute hat-trick.

Having won their last four games, the fast-improving Glens - now up to third in the Premiership table - approach the game as hot favourites, but Millar is keen to keep their feet on the ground.

In fact, with a massive Big Two derby against fierce rivals Linfield looming at Windsor Park on Saturday, he hints that his team may well not resemble the side that defeated Larne at the weekend.

"We treat every team with the same respect, and we have prepared for the Ballyclare game the same way as we'll prepare for Linfield at the weekend," said Millar.

"We've already met Ballyclare and, although we won handily enough, they are a team that like to get the ball down and play a bit of football.

"I suppose it would be fair to say there'll be a few changes to our side, simply because some of our players need a bit of game time.

"We still have a lot of players out injured - not even in the squad, the likes of Curtis Allen, Calum Birney and Willie Garrett. Darren Murray was just back from injury at the weekend and he was on the bench.

"Chris Gallagher was missing because he was on Northern Ireland Under-21 duty.

"We can afford to leave players like that out these days, whereas last year, we would have been patching them up to play.

"We've also plenty coming through, young Mal Smith is already making his mark in the first team. So it shows the quality we have in the squad - that can only be good for us."

Millar believes the form of young striker Paul O'Neill has been a big bonus for Glentoran. The 19-year-old grabbed his third goal of the season at the weekend.

"Paul has been fantastic and he is chipping in with vital goals as well," added Millar. "Paul, Elvio (van Overbeek) and Robbie (McDaid) all put in a great shift up top against Larne.

"As a team, I thought everyone played a part - it's something we've worked on in training, hopefully it's the sign of things to come at this football club.

"We showed great character and guts to come back from a goal down (against Larne). It would be fair to say that wouldn't have happened 12 months ago. We did the same at Ballymena and also at home to Coleraine. So the boys have displayed that determination.

"The supporters here demand 100 per cent, even if the team isn't playing well.

"To be fair, every single one of the players have bought into that."

Tonight's fixtures

Toals County Antrim Shield

Ards v Queen’s University

Cliftonville v Knockbreda

Glentoran v Ballyclare Comrades

Ballymena United v Dundela

Crusaders v Sirocco Works

Larne v PSNI

Carrick Rangers v H&W Welders

Eventsec North West Cup

Ballinamallard v Newbuildings Utd

Coleraine v Moyola Park

Dergview v Tobermore United

Institute v Limavady United

Mid Ulster Cup

Glenavon v Rathfriland Rgrs

Annagh Utd v Portadown

Loughgall v Banbridge Town

Warrenpoint Town v Dollingstown

Dungannon Swifts v Armagh City

Newry City v Moneyslane

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