IRISH CUP: Glentoran boss Gary Haveron up for Linfield test at the Oval

Nacho Novo
Nacho Novo

Beaming Gary Haveron believes his team go into Saturday’s Tennent’s Irish Cup fifth round tie Big Two clash with Linfield in the best possible shape!

The east Belfast side produced their best performance of the season in midweek to claim a thumping 5-0 league win over ailing Portadown at Shamrock Park.

Gary Haveron

Gary Haveron

It left Haveron beaming from ear to ear - and he wants the same again when David Healy brings his wounded Blues across down.

Having clawed their way back into title contention by beating champions Crusaders at the weekend, all their good work was undone when they fell to a shock home defeat to Coleraine on Tuesday.

“We were clinical and we took our chances against Portadown - that was the difference,” smiled Haveron.

“We were also big and strong at the back and give very little away.

“I was disappointed with the way we conceded a two goal lead in the previous game against Dungannon, but against Portadown we were very effective.”

Haveron admits a heart-to-heart with his squad had the desired effect.

He added: “I brought the boys in on the Monday night for a good honest chat prior to the Portadown match. I told them performances were just not good enough.

“I explained that we haven’t been ruthless and clinical in certain situations. So I was thrilled they way we went about our business at Shamrock Park - we were emphatic.”

Former Rangers ace Nacho Novo pocketed his second goal in a Glentoran shirt and Haveron believes he the striker can kick on.

“It was great to see Nacho get a start, topped off with a goal,” added Haveron.

“He works hard in training. He is now getting back to the level of fitness where he needs to be.

“Nacho was really effective against the Ports -- he has has got a lot of quality.

“Curtis Allen has also weighed in with another two goals. I was tempted to rest him, but I was glad I didn’t.”

Haveron realises Linfield will pose a different type of challenge.

He added: “Our confidence is high, but it’s the Big Two - form often means nothing, so I don’t really read too much into that.

“It’s a big test for us, given our position in the league table.

“It’s an incredibly hard game. Linfield will be favourites, I don’t think there is any doubt about that.

“They are sitting up their in the top two in the table.

“But we don’t fear any side. There is no inferiority complex about us.

“We want to build on the midweek result because on our day we are a match for any side.

“We’ve had a tough few weeks. It’s a big ask for part time players to play some many games over such a short time, especially with the tempo of some of the games.

“If I get the same level of performance against the Blues, I’ll be delighted.”

Linfield boss David Healy is looking for a response following the Coleraine result.

“It’s important to get that performance out of the system, so there is no better occasion that a Big Two fixture,” he said.

“We were poor against Coleraine, so we have something to prove and I believe we will do that.”