Institute will not be afforded the luxury of time to dwell on Tuesday night’s League Cup defeat as the club returns to league duties against Donegal Celtic tomorrow afternoon. (Kick-off 3.00 p.m.)
Paul Kee’s men were dumped out of the League Cup at the third round stage after a 4-1 defeat by Glenavon at Mourneview Park but the Waterside man won’t find it too difficult to raise the mood at the Riverside for tomorrow’s clash with the men from West Belfast.
That said ‘Stute go into tomorrow’s encounter on the back of a two game losing streak in cup competitions (Craig Memorial Cup and League Cup) which have eclipsed what had been a highly impressive seven game unbeaten run.
Kee’s men currently are riding high in third place in the Championship One table, three points behind leaders Dundela with a game in hand and a victory over Donegal Celtic would quickly remedy any disappointment over their recent cup setbacks.
One player who has enjoyed a rich vein of form is ‘Stute midfielder, Darren McCauley who netted the opening goal in that 4-1 defeat in midweek.
Player of the Month
Indeed, McCauley scooped the Football Writers’ BT Sport ‘Player of the Month’ award for September following some terrific displays and he’s looking forward to returning to the ‘bread and butter’ matters of the league this weekend. Delighted to receive recognition for his performances, McCauley has reiterated the club’s desire to return to the Irish Premiership this season after falling short on the last two occasions.
“I was obviously very happy to get the award,” said McCauley this week.
“I felt I had a good pre-season and I think that’s really important for the season and how you start in particular.
“Last season hurt a lot of the players because we were so close (to securing promotion) and that has made us a lot stronger.
“The plan would be always to just to try take each game as it comes but on the bigger picture the ambition is definitely to get back to the Premiership.
“The game against Donegal Celtic was always at the back of our minds.
“It’s back to the league on Saturday and that is where the priority lies for us this season. It’s always nice to go on a cup run but at the same time I think a lot of teams will tell you that they would give up a few cups if it means getting promotion.
“We have finished third in the last two seasons in a row now so we really want to go one better this year,”
Institute will play Coleraine next Monday night in the North West Senior Cup at the Riverside Stadium. (Kick-off 7.45 p.m.)