Institute boss Brian Donaghey challenges players to secure back to back victories
Last weekend the Drumahoe club secured an impressive 5-1 win over Lough 41 Championship hopefuls, Annagh United, and truth be told they should have won by a bigger margin. That said, the display was ’Stute’s best of the season and Donaghey wants his squad to just go and enjoy the game.
’Stute currently sit on the same amount of points of the Belfast men, a victory would move them clear of Saturday’s opponents with just five games remaining so Donaghey knows how important that is for the team. However, he wants his players to play with the same grit and determination as they did against Annagh United last weekend.
“It’s an absolutely huge game and, listen, you can’t play it down,” insisted Donaghey.
“We are level on points with Knockbreda and maybe with the results last week we are a goal or two behind them on goal difference. Before the Annagh game, we were eight or nine goals behind them, so yeah it’s a big game.
“If we play the way we did against Annagh then I’m very, very optimistic that we’ll get a positive result on Saturday, but the players will have to show that same level of commitment and effort.”
The ’Stute boss is throwing down the gauntlet and challenging his players to secure back to back victories for just the third time this season.
The Waterside men secured two victories in a row at the end of the August and start of September before also beating Ards and Queen’s University in consecutive weekends, also in September, but they haven’t won back to back leagues matches since and it’s something Donaghey wants to put right.
“I don’t think we have won back to back games since the Autumn and that’s something which is going to have to change if we want to keep our Championship status,” he insisted.
“Knockbreda are also going to be fighting for their lives. It’s turned into a mini-league between ourselves, Knockbreda and Queen’s and I’m just glad we have drawn level with Knockbreda.
“I also think it’s the exact same goal difference which is crazy, I have never seen that before, but there’s going to be a lot of football to be played over the next five or six games and it could come down to goal difference.
“If you have a good goal difference it could be worth a point to you at this stage of the season. I think there was an eight or nine goal swing last Saturday in one weekend.
“The Championship is an unforgiving league. I remember a few weeks back I think the bottom four won and the top four lost, you’ll never see that in any other league in Europe.
"It’s hard to put your finger on it but listen, we just need to look after ourselves and if we can get anywhere near the same performance as we did last week then I expect us to take something from the game.”
’Stute go into the game with striker Ian Parkhill a doubt because of a family commitment, but Donaghey hopes the striker on-loan from Coleraine will be able to play.
“Ian has a family thing, which he is trying to sort out so that he can still play,” he explained.
“He has been super in recent weeks and last week him and Gareth Brown, worked their socks off all day and he also scored a hat-trick, so his confidence will be up.
“Apart from Ian everyone else should be fine and training has gone well this week so I want the boys to carry that freedom and energy into Saturday’s game at Knockbreda.”