Manager Gary Smyth looks for Glentoran to kick on by beating Ballymena United

Glentoran manager Gary Smyth is looking for his side to derail Ballymena United’s title bid at the Showgrounds over the weekend.

Friday, 15th March 2019, 8:00 am
Glentoran manager Gary Smyth

The Glens manager has no malice towards the Sky Blues - he just wants his side to pick-up three points which could help them get into seventh place in the league standings and get them that all important European Play-off shot.

“We have missed the boat a few times this season as we have been in control of games and then thrown it away near the end.

“Last Saturday we had chances and we should have been picking up three points.

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“And against Glenavon was a real sickener. We were never in any trouble and then they won it.

“So we lost five points there and if we had got those points we would be seventh.

“This is a massive game for us as we are looking to get seventh - so there is no chance of going up there and rolling-over. No chance.

“If everyone is on there game against Ballymena we can get a result. We need results and I think we have competed against everyone this year.

“If we could cut-out the mistakes we would have a few more points and it is not often Glentoran go to Ballymena as underdogs but we want to finish as high as we can,” said Smyth.

And he admits United manager David Jeffrey and assistant manager Bryan McLoughlin have done a great job at the Showgrounds club.

“Ballymena always struggled to get into the top six before they got there and now it looks as if they are going to push leaders Linfield right to the very end.

“They have a done a fantastic job but I think they have shocked everyone to be doing what they are doing.

“I thought Linfield, Crusaders and maybe Coleraine would be challenging for the title but United are sitting second and they have done a fantastic job.”

And the Oval boss knows that the fight for seventh place in the league is very much alive.

“Dungannon, Institute, Warrenpoint and ourselves are all still in the hunt. You could possible play Glenavon, Cliftonville or Coleraine in the play-offs.

“I believe on our day we can beat anyone so it is important we get ourselves into seventh and get that play-off place.”

And Ballymena United’s Andy McGrory says the Sky Blues are determined to build on last weekend’s 4-0 win against Coleraine.

That result and Linfield’s 2-0 defeat to Glenavon means United are six points behind league leaders Linfield with a game in hand.

And McGrory - who grabbed a hat-trick against the Bannsiders - says they have to follow up last weekend’s win with another positive result.

“We are now looking forward to next week after getting Coleraine out of the way. We enjoyed the celebrations after the Coleraine match and now we move on to next week and build on this result.

“There is no point in beating Coleraine and then losing to Glentoran. We have to do the business against the Glens and we have to go into that match and win it.

“We are at home and we have to win our home games.

“In the last few fixtures between ourselves and Coleraine haven’t gone well for us. We have only won twice in the last 15 matches so that win has been a long time coming. But thankfully today we got the win and got over the line. We just have to keep that going.”