It’s business as usual for Glentoran despite rather unfamiliar surroundings.
The Glens travel to Ballinamallard on Saturday in their first post-split fixture. It’s the first time they have failed to make the top half of the Premiership split but boss Gary Haveron is determined to make even a little silk out of a real sow’s ear of a campaign through the European play-offs.
He said: “Dungannon are in the box seat but the lure of European football is still hanging there.
“Getting top six was obviously our priority and we didn’t take the opportunities that we had but we won’t feel sorry for ourselves. We have to win as many of these games as possible and give ourselves a chance.”
Haveron has handed starts to 19 year-old winger Conal Delaney in the Glens’ recent wins over Ballymena and Carrick.
“I don’t want to put pressure on Conal,” said the boss. “He has got his chance and he has done well so far. When he’s on form, he’s an exciting player to watch. He’s a throw-back to an old fashioned winger, he has a turn of pace and a jink about him.
“Tiaran (McAuley) is 19 as well - both of them playing down the right bodes well for the future.”
Haveron will be without Nacho Novo but welcomes Marcus Kane, Steven Gordon and Aaron Harmon all back into the panel with Calum Birney in with a chance of returning.
Ballinamallard are turning into something of a bogey team for Glentoran and have won three of the last four meetings between the teams.
“I’m still baffled how we lost the game at the Oval,” said Haveron. “We dominated possession and should have won comfortably. Last time down there, we played some really good football but then had a man sent off and they scored two quick goals.
“We’ve left a lot of points out on the pitch against Ballinamallard but they’re going to want to win this one to give themselves more space ahead of Carrick.”