Glentoran boss Eddie Patterson has thrown down the gauntlet to his ailing troops, telling them to up their game, or they’ll be shown the door!
The East Belfast team slumped to an embarrassing second defeat of the Danske Premiership campaign last weekend, beaten basement side Ballymena United.
An angry Patterson is demanding a massive improvement when Ronnie McFall’s Portadown on Saturday leave a calling card at the Oval in a repeat of last season’s Irish Cup final.
“Things better change . . . and quickly,” rapped Patterson. “We are not working hard enough and it’s just not acceptable. The game last week against Ballymena was a prime example.
“We started really well and then just took our foot off the gas. We are guilty of giving the ball away too often and too easily.
“In fact, we give it away more against Ballymena than we did over the last number of weeks. So that tells me people are not working hard enough off the ball.
“We are not working hard enough to keep possession of the ball - and that has been one of our strengths since I’ve came here. We started well, playing nice one or two touch stuff and getting crosses into the box. Then we stopped. Only the players can tell you the reason why.
“I have noticed a lazy streak creeping into our play.
“Some individuals start taking four and five touches and basically getting caught on the ball. That has been our downfall in games. It has to change and soon.”
“People start getting into the mode of doing their own thing -- not what they have been coached on Tuesday and Thursday. That’s when the problems start . . . that’s where the lack of attitude comes in.
“It’s happening too often. We were great for the first 35 minutes against Carrick -- then we stopped. To be fair, we performed well for the entire game against Crusaders.
“But we were back to our old ways in the following match against Warrenpoint, where we produced nothing. Then, last week we were good for 15 minutes against Ballymena, before switching off.”
Patterson continued: “Was it because Ballymena had yet to win in the league? Players decided to abandon our game plan, what we worked on, preferring to do their own thing. I’ve said before, attitude isn’t a thing you can switch on. But our attitude wasn’t good against the ‘so called’ lesser teams.
“You look at David Howland . . . that was his first 90 minutes in two years (against Ballymena). He give me more energy than the rest of them -- and those are guys who have been regularly over the course of the last two seasons.
“I would say there will be changes for the Portadown game.”
Centre back Jay Magee returns to the Glentoran squad after sitting out an automatic one match suspension following his dismissal in the League Cup tie against the PSNI.
But Jim O’Hanlon and goalkeeper Elliott Morris remain on the injured list.