Institute expect midfield pair to make return for Ballyclare Comrades game
Institute manager Brian Donaghey is happy that duo Shaun Doherty and Liam Walsh should be available for tomorrow’s encounter at Championship title hopefuls Ballyclare Comrades (KO 3pm).
The influential pair missed last week’s home defeat to Newry City and Donaghey feels their energy will help revitalise his young squad.
“Dixon Park is always a tough place to go but we have gone there in the past and won but, listen, we’ll have to be bang at it from the off on Saturday if we want to get anything from the game,” insisted Donaghey.
“Hopefully we’ll have Shaun and Liam back. Those two will improve team so if we go into the game at full strength and with the right attitude, we’ll give it a go.”
’Stute’s defeat to Newry meant back to back defeats for the first time under Donaghey’s stewardship, but the ex-Cliftonville assistant manager always felt his young side could suffer setbacks and he wants to see more of his players getting amongst the goals so they are not so reliant on striker Brendan McLaughlin.
The Donegal man has scored all of ’Stute’s goals in their last four games.
“I knew these days were coming, I never got overly excited when we started so well because I knew, over the course of the season, you can feasibly lose four or five games on the bounce in this league. We had a horrible October fixtures wise,” he added.
“I didn’t think we were good enough last week and definitely missed our few regular players but hopefully one or two should be back which will give us a better balance because we have to put last week’s result behind us.
“I don’t want it to become an issue that Benny is the only one who has been popping up with a goal. We work tirelessly on forward play and forward phases of play and stuff like that,” he added.
“It’s about getting ideas in the players heads so it just becomes natural for them on Saturdays but, listen, I don’t think I’ve had seven or eight training sessions and it’s going to take time. We have scored a few goals from set-pieces this season. Shaun Leppard, for example, headed a winner against Portstewart and we have to start adding other threats from set-pieces.
“A successful team is a team who score goals from all over the pitch. We are a work in progress but I’m looking forward to Saturday and to having Shaun and Liam back is good for everyone because they were missed last week.”
Donaghey was quick to point that morale in the squad remains good but admitted his side need to become more solid defensively.
“It’s not doom and gloom. I spoke with the squad on Tuesday and while a few boys were down that’s the nature of the Championship. The boys have to show what type of characters they are and what they have in their locker, so I’m looking forward to seeing what type of response they are going to give.
“We need to get back to basics and keep a clean-sheet. We have been competitive in all of our games and aren’t getting blown away anymore. I was at the Ballyclare home game and they were 3-0 down after 35 minutes and we definitely don’t want a repeat of that.
“Listen, I was at Dixon Park when we were beaten 6-1 a few days after the flood and it was probably one of the worst points in my footballing career, but the way the boys bounced back after that was tremendous and I want to see a reaction from this squad. We just have to get back to being very difficult to beat.”