Glentoran boss Eddie Patterson is plotting to hijack the third spot in the Premiership table, which would guarantee his team European football next season.
When Cliftonville travel across town on Saturday looking for three points to keep their title aspirations on track, Patterson will have other ideas.
The East Belfast side’s season has ground to a halt in recent weeks, having been dumped out of the Irish Cup, followed by Setanta Cup elimination in midweek, beaten on aggregate by Shamrock Rovers.
It leaves Patterson with a clear focus over the remaining seven league games - to finish behind table toppers Linfield and title holders Cliftonville.
“Forget about Cliftonville . . . this a massive game for us,” rapped Patterson.
“Irrespective what Cliftonville need, it’s vital we pick up full points if we want to clinch the third place to guarantee us European football next season.
“We are six points off third played with a game in hand -- next week’s match against Crusaders will also be significant.
“Cliftonville may need the points for other reasons, but we require maximum points from every match from now on in, there is no question about that.
“Yes, we have an awful lot of work to do - even more so when the split takes place next week because we’ll then be playing against all the teams above us.
“We’ve been crippled over the past two months by injury, with something like six or seven first team players out on different occasions.
“Now we are starting to get a few back -- and it comes at a good time.
“Anything can happen. We’ll be trying to instill a bit more belief and confidence into the boys. If we can repeat our second half performance against Rovers there is no reason why we can’t close in on that third spot.”
Even though the Glens held Shamrock Rovers to a scoreless draw at the Oval, the damage was done a fortnight earlier when they were thumped 5-1 in Dublin.
Patterson added: “It was a good workout ahead of the Cliftonville game.
“We played well, particularly in the second half. We passed the ball well and we retained it better. It was probably a dead game for Shamrock Rovers, but it was a great exercise for us.
“They are a good footballing side and are very fit, so we knew we were in a game against them. But we showed a lot of composure in the second half and pinged the ball about well.
“We wanted to enter the competition to give these lads a bit of experience against that type of opposition . . . similar to the European games. Once again the young lads have come to the fore and put in a decent performance. There were some good performances against Rovers, so it will give me a bit of a selection headache for the game,”added Patterson.
Recent P’ship form (latest on left): Glentoran W-W-L-L-L; Cliftonville W-W-W-W-W
Last 4 league meetings: Glentoran 1 Cliftonville 1, Cliftonville 4 Glentoran 1, Glentoran 3 Cliftonville 0, Cliftonville 4 Glentoran 1.
Prediction: Glentoran 0 Cliftonville 2