Glentoran boss Eddie Patterson has warned his boys to shape up or ship out ahead of Saturday’s Danske Premiership showdown with Ballymena United at the Oval.
Patterson was from happy with his team’s midweek showing the League Cup win over Championship Two side PSNI. Curtis Allen’s early strike earned the East Belfast outfit a second round slot.
But the victory came at a price because centre-back Jay Magee was dismissed late in the second half, following an off the ball incident.
“Our attitude must be better, that’s for sure,” roared Patterson. “This game is all about attitudes. Our attitude wasn’t good against PSNI and we struggled. That happens in football. You can’t coach that, it comes from the individual.
“I have to look at what kind of individuals I have in the squad. If we need to replace them, I’ll do that. This club needs players with big personalities. Boys that go out on to the park and give 110 per cent regardless of the opposition. For whatever reason, it didn’t happen in midweek.
“We preach to the players their attitude must be spot on no matter who they play against ... it’s impossible to switch it off and on.”
Patterson, who brought in midfielder Ciaran Caldwell from Glenavon and 20 year old goalkeeper Chris Johns from Southampton before the close of the transfer window, is also aware that struggling Ballymena will travel to the Oval looking for their first win of the league campaign.
“It’s another banana skin fixture,” he adds. “It will be a tough game. Spike (Glenn Ferguson) will be doing his utmost to turn things around.
“They have a good record at the Oval... I’m sure they will be thinking there is no better place to get a result. Hopefully, the midweek performance will be a wake up call for us.
“The big thing was getting into the next round, but our attitude was all wrong.
“We almost shot ourselves into the foot with Jay (Magee) being sent off. It was absolute stupidity. Credit to the lads for the lads in the last 15 minutes, they dug deep.”
Goalkeeper Elliott Morris and midfielder Jim O’Hanlon will again miss out due to injury, while Magee must sit an automatic one game ban.
Following a horrible sequence of opening results, Ballymena United boss Glenn Ferguson is in a ‘better place’ going into the game.
The Sky Blues not only gained their first point of he campaign against Carrick Rangers – after losing defender Jim Ervin who was dismissed in the first minute – but they then booked a spot in the second round of the League Cup following a midweek success at Moyola Park.
“It will be difficult, but we’ll go to the Oval with a bit more confidence,” said Ferguson.
“We’re starting to score goals... it was good to get four against Moyola and it could have been more. We looked a lot more solid defensively. Johnny Taylor was back. He formed a good partnership and understanding with Gareth Rodger They were solid.
“We also have players coming back into the squad that were not involved against Moyola, so we must go to the Oval looking for three points.”