Dean Smith confident Loughgall's latest recruit can make big impact
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The 28-year-old midfielder enjoyed two years at Lakeview Park before moving to Carrick Rangers in September 2020 and has since gained further top-flight experience with Ballymena United, where he also appeared in last season’s Irish Cup final defeat to Crusaders.
He was one of many players that left the Sky Blues during the summer and his return to Loughgall was confirmed last month with Gibson making a first Premiership appearance from the bench in last weekend’s 4-3 defeat to former side Carrick.
The ex-Dollingstown man played 90 minutes in their midweek 3-0 Mid-Ulster Cup quarter-final victory over Armagh City and Smith is delighted to have him back.
"Without a doubt (he will have a big impact),” he said. “I've had him before here and he's a fantastic player.
"I think how we play suits him down to the ground.
"He has Premier League experience and we could see when he came on that he makes a difference.
"He wants the ball, is clever with it and he will be a great addition."
Smith’s side will be looking to bounce back from what he described as the first league match this season where they’ve “been off it” after leaking four goals at home last Saturday.
Loughgall have enjoyed a stellar top-flight return, beating defending champions Larne and picking points on the road at both Crusaders and Cliftonville.
They travel to Belfast to take on Glentoran at The Oval this evening looking to cause another upset.
Victory would see them move back into the top-six – an opportunity they also had last weekend – and leapfrog Warren Feeney’s Glens, but Smith says that isn’t part of his pre-match motivation.
"We didn’t even mention it (prior to the Carrick match),” he added. "Whether we won and got into the top-six or not, it was never even in our thought process.
"Everybody wants to break into the top-six and we’re no different.
"It’s about taking it one game at a time.”
Loughgall were impressive in their previous outing against Glentoran in August when Daire O’Connor’s 19th minute strike was all that separated the two teams.
Smith is expecting a Glens reaction from their derby defeat to Linfield as Feeney’s men aim to pick up a first league win since their 4-2 success over Newry City on September 9.
"We know that Glentoran's result in the derby didn't go in their favour and we know they'll want a reaction,” he said. “We're going down for a really tough game, but we won't be setting up any different to any other game."
On taking confidence from their previous meeting, he added: “You have to take into account personnel change between games, the starting sides will be different from when they were here, but we'll go down with a game plan and try to implement it."