Institute manager, Kevin Deery is faced with several injury concerns ahead of tonight’s crucial trip to fellow promotion hopefuls Larne (Kick-off 8 p.m).
Defender Sean Roddy is ruled out for the rest of the season with a serious knee injury, while Shane McGinty is also struggling, but boss Kevin Deery is looking forward to the game despite his growing injury list.
Currently ‘Stute sit three points behind the Inver Park men but they have played a game less and a victory would move Deery’s side above their opponents and into third spot.
“We have to try and finish above Larne and that’s what we set ourselves a target a few months back,” he said.
“We are the in-form team in the league. We haven’t lost a league game since Bangor in November, so I’m speaking about no one else other than ourselves.
“Look there will be twists and turns yet, we have 12 points to play for. We have a group of lads here who are busting a gut for each other and they’ll not be far away.”
Deery feels because of the quick turnaround between games, it may come down to who prepares better.
“It’s a quick turn-around for both teams, so it’s about how well you prepare,” he added.
“We haven’t got the numbers in terms of freshening things up but we have options there and we’ll have to think about what team to select.
“We came in on Sunday morning and got a good recovery session to give ourselves every chance, that’s the best we can do and then on the night it will be the best team who wins the game.”
Deery confirmed that he decided to give McGinty another few days to recover from his knee problem.
“I’m hoping Shane will be back, as that was the reason I left him out against Loughgall,” he said.
“He tried to do a light bit of training last Thursday night but we knew if he had played against Loughgall, he definitely wouldn’t have played against Larne, so hopefully the plan works for me.”
Support for Roddy
Meanwhile, Deery claims the Waterside club will do everything they can to support defender, Roddy who has been ruled out for the season.
Roddy has played a major role in Stute’s recent great form and Deery was gutted for the defender who had to go to hospital after the game against Loughgall.
“As a man who suffered a lot of injuries during my playing days, I know what he’s going through and I’m absolutely devastated for him,” he said.
“To see him limping out of here, it’s hard on him and he’ll miss the rest of the season there’s no doubt about that.
“We wish him well in his recovery and to be honest I’m a good man to have around him, so I’ll be keeping a close eye on him and make sure he’s alright.”
Roddy was out for nearly a year with a cruciate knee injury a few years ago and unfortunately for the ex-Finn Harps man it looks like a reoccurrence of the problem.
“I don’t know how severe the injury is but it’s the knee which he has had a bit of bother with, so it’s not good for Sean, it’s not good for us,” he added.
“Sean’s start with me wasn’t great, but I gave him the opportunity to come out and show that he meant really well and he has taken that chance with both hands.
“He has had a real authority about him and his character on and off the pitch has been great this season.
“I’m sure the club will do their upmost to get him treated right because he’s doing it for the love of the game and this is the time when you need to step up and whatever he needs we’ll get it for him.”
Deery also remarked about the youthful exuberance in his dressing room which is a massive benefit.
“We have a great mentality here and we showed great bottle again to win a game, so I’m delighted with it,” he added.
“They have no fear and have a go and it works for you at times.”
Deery thrilled with late, late show
Deery was delighted with another late, late show, which saw off Loughgall at the weekend.
The Drumahoe men scored twice in the final five minutes to claim the three points and with four games remaining their play-off hopes are still alive. “We have scored four goals in the last ten minutes from our last two games and that shows the character in the squad,” he said.
“We managed to score two goals in injury time at Lurgan Celtic and we kept persevering on Saturday and got our rewards.”
Deery did concede that he felt his side were better in the first half against Loughgall.
“I felt our first half was technically better but in the second half we got a wee bit ragged,” he added.
“They sat really deep on us, but when you are a fit team and you pride yourself on your work-rate and the stuff you do off the pitch, then you get your rewards and that’s what they got.” Striker Gareth Brown, who scored the stoppage leveller at Lurgan Celtic a few weeks ago, scored the all-important first goal on 85 minutes, much to Deery’s delight.
“It’s great when a striker scores goals, but I felt Gareth’s all round display was his best this season,” he concluded.