Haveron sure fearless Glens can put brakes on Coleraine
Glentoran manager Gary Haveron has issued a rallying cry to his players and supporters, insisting that they should not fear league leaders Coleraine at The Oval tomorrow.
The Bannsiders will travel to east Belfast with the only perfect record in the Danske Bank Premiership having won seven games out of seven.
In confident mood, Oran Kearney's men will fancy making it eight out of eight.
The Glens have other ideas. To the surprise of some, Haveron's side have enjoyed a fine start to the campaign too, only losing one match to date at Linfield.
Beat Coleraine and Glentoran will move to within four points of the current top dogs.
Haveron acknowledges that the Bannsiders will provide a stiff test but with Curtis Allen, John McGuigan and Robbie McDaid in the home attack, The Oval boss believes he has the ammunition to hurt any opposition team, even Coleraine.
The clear message is that the Glens are eagerly anticipating the contest rather than dreading it.
"It will be difficult against Coleraine as they are obviously a very good side and have hit the ground running this season," said Haveron.
"They are the team everyone is talking about at the moment and rightfully so. Seven league wins out of seven is a fantastic start.
"But I think we are a match for most and when we are at our best we can really hurt teams with the striking options that we have. Also, if we defend as we did against Ballymena in our win over them last weekend we will give ourselves a real chance.
"We respect everyone, and that includes Coleraine, but I like to focus on us and we won't go into this game with any fear. They have made a great start, but why should we fear them?"
Haveron knows this is one of the biggest games of his time in charge of the Glens. It's evident he is up for it and he will demand the same appetite for success from his players. He also wants the fans to get involved.
"I'm sure our supporters will be fantastic on Saturday. I really want our crowd to get behind us," he stated. "The Coleraine fans have a long bus journey to Belfast so I'm sure they will be in good voice by the time they get here. The atmosphere will be good inside the ground and hopefully it will prove to be a good match."
On the debate of whether or not Coleraine are genuine title challengers, Haveron's take is this: "I think Coleraine have to be seen as title challengers. They finished third last season, maybe a considerable distance behind Linfield and Crusaders, but they are definitely up there.
"They got the European money in the summer, they have strengthened their squad and their players have another year of experience under their belts, but I prefer to focus on us.
"We will all be ready for a big game come Saturday."
Glentoran defeated Amateur League team Crumlin Star 4-2 on Tuesday night in the County Antrim Shield. It's unlikely, though, that any of the 11 players who started that game for the Glens will play from kick-off against Coleraine.
"We made 11 changes to the team that beat Ballymena a few days before. Those boys needed the game time and they will benefit from that," said Haveron.
"I thought that Eoghan McCawl was excellent, Steven Gordon led by example and there were also other good performances.
"It was important to keep our momentum going and a number of them put their hand up to be more involved in the first team. Having more strength in depth will be great for the club."
Former Coleraine striker Curtis Allen admits his old employers are flying at the moment.
"Coleraine are flying, and I love to see that because I still have a soft spot for them, I'm really pleased to see them up there but there will be no love lost when they come to The Oval," said Allen.
"They're a good young side and Darren McCauley is doing well and a couple of the other boys and big Dougie (Stephen Douglas) at the back, they have good experience in there, a bit like ourselves with a wee bit of experience and a bit of youth, it's blending nicely.
"It'll be a tough game. Oran has them working hard and they're scoring loads and loads of goals, it'll be a tough match and we have to make The Oval a bit of a fortress."
- Glentoran v Coleraine, Danske Bank Premiership: The Oval, Tomorrow, 3.00pm
- Fixtures to come Tonight (7.45pm): Warrenpoint Town v Linfield; Tomorrow (3pm): Ballinamallard United v Ballymena United, Carrick Rangers v Cliftonville, Crusaders v Dungannon Swifts, Glenavon v Ards, Glentoran v Coleraine