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Stute have what it takes to stay in the top flight, insists Connor



Institute manager Sean Connor

Institute manager Sean Connor


Institute manager Sean Connor

Institute boss Sean Connor feels a lack of leadership and experience is holding his side back but he still believes they can avoid the dreaded drop to the Bluefin Sport Championship.

Last weekend's 2-1 loss at Crusaders left Stute three points adrift of Warrenpoint Town at the bottom but they do have a superior goal difference than Barry Gray's men.

Up next is a home game against Cliftonville tomorrow while Point host third from bottom Ballymena United.

With only seven games remaining, the survival battle is really hotting up but Connor remains quietly confident his troops can perform the great escape.

Stute were unable to finish the job after hitting an early opener against Crusaders but it was still a performance that offered hope going into the last few battles.

"The players were disappointed after the Crusaders game but I told them if we take that level of performance and tenacity into the games against teams around us we will pick up more points than we drop," said Connor.

"They have got to believe that and I can appreciate it's not easy when you are bottom of the table.

"The pressure has been here since I came in. After eight games we had one point. We now have 15 points from 31 games.

"We were always having to beat Warrenpoint, what I must do is take this level of performance and replicate it in the next seven games."

Jordan Owens' introduction at half-time helped boost the Crues' fortunes and Connor views their record goalscorer as the kind of character and leader who could benefit his team.

"It's a bit of experience we are lacking and no real strong, experienced leader out there," added Connor. "It's also about a little physicality which you can see in a player like Jordan Owens.

"In one on one challenges he's strong. Oran Brogan is 17, keeper Rory Brown is 19. Aidan McCauley is only 22. At a certain age you get that strength and we are just lacking a little of that."

Crusaders were a wounded animal after their dismal run of results and Connor knew a backlash was possible.

"Crusaders' form worried me because I knew it couldn't continue," he said.

"They are a great side but we did create chances."

Belfast Telegraph