Carrick Rangers v Glentoran
Tuesday 17 April 2017, 7.45pm
On Easter Tuesday we make our second and final visit of the season to the Belfast Loughshore Hotel Arena to play Carrick Rangers.
After two very disappointing away defeats that have all but obliterated our chances of a Europa League play-off position, it is essential that everyone on the playing side shows a massive improvement to at least give the travelling support some positives and to keep the club in a challenging position should others slip up.
We defeated Carrick 1-0 at the Oval last month with a Nacho Novo first half goal and in our previous visit to Carrickfergus in October we secured a 1-2 win through goals from Curtis Allen and Steven Gordon.
However despite Carrick’s place in the relegation play-off zone our own form means there’s no room for complacency against any opposition, particularly since earlier in the season a Miguel Chines goal gave Rangers a 0-1 win at the Oval in a match that set the tone for the rest of our season.
Nacho Novo will miss the match as the final game in his 3 match suspension while Aaron Harmon, Stevie Gordon and Tiernan McAuley are all ruled out for at least the rest of this season with serious injuries sustained at Ballinamallard and Dungannon.
I wish the 3 lads a very speedy recovery. The 3 of them never miss training no matter what the circumstances and never give anything less than 100%.
The final 3 games present us with the opportunity to look at what we have in the ranks. With that in mind Tre Sterling, Karl Hamill, Paddy Cafolla and Salou Jallow will all be in the squad for Carrick.
I can assure everyone work began some time ago on rebuilding and will continue too in the coming days, weeks and months to ensure we can be as competitive as possible next season. It’s been a season of many shortcomings and disappointments for everyone but with 3 games remaining we will try and get 3 positive results as we look to the summer when the rebuilding can begin in earnest”.
Manager Gary Haveron said: “It's been a blow to lose both Tiernan and Harmo to what look like long term injuries. We will wait for the results of the scans but our physio Jonny Cummins had experience with similar injuries to Stephen McAlorum and Willie Garrett recently and according to him it doesn’t look good for either lad at the moment.
Stevie Gordon has a fractured jaw - an injury he picked up shortly after going on as sub at Dungannon – and again it looks like his season is over as he’s looking at around 6 weeks recovery. On the plus side it doesn't look like it requires surgery.