Institute face Portstewart in Samuel Gelston’s Irish Whiskey Irish Cup
Institute manager Brian Donaghey is hoping his side can finally return to winning ways when they travel to Knockbreada tomorrow afternoon (KO 2pm).
The Waterside men last won way back in September, when Brendan McLaughlin’s second half strike secured a victory on the road at Queen’s and Donaghey’s hoping for another positive result at Breda Park.
The home side going into the game are not in the best of form themselves, having lost their last two games against Newry City and Annagh United,however, Donaghey is expecting a hard game and admits they deserved their 3-1 win at the Brandywell way back in October.
“It’s always a tough place to go, but I don’t remember actually getting beat down there to be honest, I think we had a few 1-0 victories at their place and a similar result on Saturday would be great,” he stated.
“Look they are a wee bit similar to us, as they went on a great run for a while but have stumbled over the last few weeks.
“Despite the results they have some good players and I heard that Ethan Devine has signed a pre-contract with Crusaders, so you can see the calibre of players they have.
“Ethan is a handful and the young lad Lee Rea is also very, very threatening going down the left.
“They were very good against us in the Brandywell and they deserved to win. I felt that was one of our poorest games, whenever we were on a good run too, but listen, they were full value for their win that day.
“We have four matches between now and January 1st and hopefully we can pick up points, because it seems like an eternity since we did, but a wee bit of luck just hasn’t gone our way.
Sending off, suspensions and unavailability of players over the last few weeks haven’t helped, but I’m not going to be too downhearted about it, because we’ll have a team on the pitch on Saturday that will hopefully be very able to bringing some points back.”
Centre-back Shaun Leppard misses out through suspension, while Joshua Busteed and Aidy McCauley are also struggling with injuries.
“Obviously Shaun is out, but both Josh Busteed and Aidy McCauley haven’t trained much this week and Aidy in fact needed to be carried off last Saturday because of his ankle injury and I don’t think he’ll make it.
“John Connolly also unfortunately had a death in the family, as his sister passed away, which is extremely sad, so I need to see what his feelings are about playing on Saturday, because obviously there’s a lot more important things in life than football, so we’ll give him every opportunity to see how he is and if he’s willing to play.
“As everyone knows we have quite a small squad, so everyone will just have to mix in, roll the sleeves up and see where it takes us on Saturday.”
The Drumahoe club will entertain Portstewart in the Samuel Gelston’s Irish Whiskey Irish Cup first round, on Saturday January 8, while Limavady United will travel to Portadown and Dergview host Glentoran; and Donaghey hopes his squad will be strengthened by the time the tie is to be played.
“Anybody at home and anybody from a league below you would have jumped at it before the draw was made, but Portstewart, who are very forward thinking club under Johnny Law, will be a tough tie for us, because they are doing well in the Premier Intermediate League,” he added.
“I hope to have a few players in by that time, hopefully they’ll be available to play and while I’m looking forward to the tie, it’s as far as way as the lighthouse at the minute, we have a lot more pressing matters in terms of league games before the Irish Cup starts.”