IRISH LEAGUE: Haveron’s focus on future Glentoran progress as he prepares for another Linfield visit to The Oval

Glentoran manager Gary Haveron. Pic by PressEye Ltd.
Glentoran manager Gary Haveron. Pic by PressEye Ltd.

Gary Haveron stepped out for the first time as Glentoran manager back in October aiming to rejuvenate the troubled club beyond a Big Two scalp.

His first taste of life in The Oval hot-seat ended with a 2-1 reverse to Linfield and Haveron has steered Glentoran to 26 points from the subsequent 19 Danske Bank Premiership dates.

A return to The Oval for Linfield this weekend presents the former Carrick Rangers boss a chance to reflect but his focus remains on moving Glentoran forward.

“That first fixture against Linfield probably showed us everything in terms of a poor first half, excellent response which should have led to a win before a soft second goal killed us,” said Haveron. “That struggle for goals and the recurrence of conceding poor goals has been the story too often for us.

“Our fans are hurting and I completely understand that as, to be honest, we have only produced a few fleeting performances of the right standard.

“For some reason, our record at home has especially been a problem and far from the fortress we want to turn The Oval into over time.

“We are still in the mix for European football, even if it is an outside chance, so the target is finish as high as possible then look at a fresh impetus from the summer.

“The Board of Directors and supporters have put faith in me to take the club forward and I think we have improved but not by as much as we want.

“Our build-up this week has been disrupted by injuries to the likes of Marcus Kane, Jay Magee and Calum Birney but it is not about excuses and we must prepare as best we can.”

Added to the high stakes for Linfield is the need to get back on track following a 1-1 draw at home to basement Portadown that proved minutes away from a shock defeat.

The Blues now trail defending champions Crusaders by nine points with as many games left on the fixture list but can take heart from an unbeaten run on the road dating back to October 18.