Eddie Patterson hopes congested schedule does not impact on season

Glentoran manager Eddie Patterson
Glentoran manager Eddie Patterson

Glentoran boss Eddie Patterson hopes a congested fixture schedule does not impact on the club’s season.

The Glens are preparing for their third game in the space of a week with Monday night’s crunch Irish Cup quarter-final with Glenavon.

It is the latest acid test for Patterson’s fledgling squad who are determined to defend the trophy this season.

The Glens went without a win in six games prior to defeating Armagh City and Ballymena United in their last two outings.

Patterson has been forced to reshuffle his pack, with injuries and suspensions doing little to ease the burden of their hectic schedule.

“It has been tough the past few weeks, with the Setanta Cup and also rearranged games in midweek,” he said.

“We have been playing a lot of games recently, and playing at the weekend and then again on Monday is not ideal for part-time clubs.

“Players have full-time jobs to do, and they then have to fit in football around that.

“The demands being placed on clubs and players is ridiculous, and performance levels naturally drop.

“I don’t know if the Irish Football Association can lobby UEFA to change the ruling that games can’t be played on nights when the Champions League is on.

“It is a bit farcical that a part-time league in Northern Ireland is put on hold some Tuesday and Wednesday nights, especially when clubs on the mainland are able to play on those nights.”

Despite the strain being placed on resources, Patterson insists the Irish Cup remains a “major target” for the Glens this season.

“It is the trophy we won last year, and we want to retain it,” he said.

“We are a radically changed squad since last season, though, and it is going to be very difficult.

“Glenavon are a dangerous team who can score goals, so we know Monday night is going to be very tough.

“We will just have to see who is available for Monday night and give it our best shot.”