Manager Sean Connor sets Institute players a challenge for Glentoran game

Institute manager Sean Connor.
Institute manager Sean Connor.

Institute manager Sean Connor wants his players to express themselves when they face in-form Glentoran at the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium tomorrow afternoon.

Connor has, this week, set his squad a challenge of going one better than their hard fought draw at Crusaders and secure the three points against the East Belfast club.

“We are setting our own standards now and last week was a really, really big statement from us and I have challenged the boys this week to go one step further and start taking three points, instead of securing battling points,” he admitted.

“I thought at times last Saturday when we got the ball down, we played and created chances, but from front to back we were really, really solid and they (Crusaders) are a good side, who have good players.

“Look, we have went back to basics, because this game is a very simple game and some people over complicate it. It’s about keeping the ball out of your goal and trying to create chances up the other end of the field and we have tried to do that.

“You can’t do that if you are ragged and all over the place, so you need discipline, you need a system and you need to understand that system."

Connor knows it’s going to be another tough task for his side, as the Belfast men are aiming for their sixth win a row.

“Listen, they are probably one of the best footballing sides you are going to come up against this year,” he added.

“To be fair to Mick (McDermott), he has them playing really good football, they seem to be working so hard off the ball, working for each other and they have got quality players all over the pitch that can hurt you on one-on-one situations, so it’s going to be a really difficult game, but we are going into the game off the back of a three game unbeaten run.

“We have a good bit of confidence and we aren’t shipping lots of goals that we were earlier on in the season, so we have to go into this game as positive as we can.”

As for Glens boss, Mick McDermott, he knows his side are facing a different ’Stute team, which they easily defeated 4-0 way back in September.

“There has been an improvement in recent weeks. Last week at Crusaders they were well organised, frustrated them, defended well and took their chance when they got, so it’s definitely a much improved team since the start of the season. So we know going up there, it’s not going to be easy at all,” he explained.

The Oval men are on a fantastic run of form, but McDermott wants his players to keep their feet firmly on the ground.

“Yes, it’s a good thing but like I always tell the players, it’s easy for the media and fans to talk about four in a row, five in a row; we talk about one at a time. We go into every Saturday looking to win one game, then you prepare for the next game accordingly and that’s what we’ll do with Institute. We have to go up there and say, ‘we need to win’.”

Former Derry City centre-backs Gavin Peers and Patrick McClean have shone this season with the Creggan man in particular becoming a fans’ favourite.

“I think Paddy has been brilliant, Gavin Peers has been outstanding, Conor Pepper and Marcus Kane have also been outstanding, so has the rest of the team,” he said.

“Paddy has been outstanding, he has looked after himself and is a big personality in the changing room. We’re glad we got him signed up for an additional two years, so he has been massive for us.”