Eddie Patterson has demanded maximum points from Glentoran’s final two fixtures before the split.
The Glens – who sit fifth in the Danske Bank Premiership – entertain Ballinamallard United tonight at The Oval before the visit of Dungannon Swifts to Mersey Street on March 28.
Sandwiched in between is a massive Irish Cup semi-final showdown with Crusaders on March 21.
“The two league fixtures are massive games and we want six points from them,” Patterson said.
“That is much-needed if we want to stay on the coat tails of Portadown and Cliftonville for that third spot in the table.
“European football is a massive incentive. If we had won against Portadown last week it would have helped our cause, but we move on.
“If we can get closer to Portadown and Cliftonville when the split comes, then it will be all to play for. We have games against both of them after the split, so we will see how it goes.”
Patterson is anticipating a seismic battle to secure an automatic European qualification spot this season.
“Cliftonville need Europe from a financial point of view, given their success over the past couple of seasons and the money they have spent,” he added.
“Portadown are similar. Linfield are the same too, while Crusaders need it because they have also spent a lot of money to try and land the title.
“It would be great for Glentoran too. But we will focus on one game at a time.”
The Irish Cup remains a huge target for the Glens, as they look to repeat the triumph of 2012 when they beat Cliftonville in the final.
But for Patterson, the main priority is tonight’s league clash with Ballinamallard.
“Friday night is a massive game for us, and the Irish Cup semi-final is not even on our radar yet,” he added.
“Once we get Friday night out of the way then we will concentrate on Crusaders in the cup.
“We know how important it is to pick up as many league points as we can. So that is our focus.”