Institute welcome back Gareth Brown for Ballyclare Comrades clash
Institute manager Brian Donaghey says he will add a few new faces to his squad for tomorrow’s encounter at Ballyclare Comrades (KO 3pm).
Recent signings Gareth Brown and Jake Morrow, as well as midfielder pair Aidy McCauley and Jamie Dunne, should all be available for the encounter at Dixon Park, a game in which the ’Stute boss hopes he sees a reaction to last week’s Samuel Gelston’s Whiskey Irish Cup defeat to Portstewart.
Donaghey revealed he’s still in the market for potential players during this month’s transfer window but is confident his players can get a more positive result than the last time they managed the Comrades.
In October, Liam Walsh’s second half penalty miss meant the Drumahoe club only took a scoreless draw from a game in which they did enough to win.
“We should have won at Ballyclare a few months ago and because of that I’m looking forward to Saturday’s game,” explained Donaghey.
“To prove how crazy the Championship is, that day had Ballyclare won then they would have gone top of the league but I thought we were very good that day and probably deserved to win the game, We were probably a goalscorer away from winning it but, listen, we have a bit of extra emphasis now up top.
“The squad is now starting to take shape apart from (Cormac) Burke and Walsh who are the only two who aren’t really going to be available, but we have quite a few back.
“We have Gareth Brown coming in, Caolan McLaughlin and Mark McFadden will also hopefully add goals and Jamie Dunne is also back. Jake Morrow can also play and Aidy McCauley is also available.
“You are always trying to strengthen your squad and my phone hasn’t stopped. In fact I finished work on Thursday morning at 8am and, after a 12 hour shift, I was back on the phone again at 8.05am talking to players but look it’s the silly season so we’ll wait and see.
“The only difference about this transfer window and the summer window is that I’m on the ground and I’m able to go and meet players and give them a bit of personal attention and explain my plans.
“To be fair, since September a lot of players we have at the club have improved. I’m talking about the likes of Sean Doherty and Rhys McDermott to name but two, but quite a few players in the squad have improved and I want that to continue.”
Donaghey believes the squad is continuing to make strides and feels having experienced striker Brown added to the panel will improve their goal threat.
“We definitely had an off day, sorry, an ‘off first half’ against Portstewart in the cup last week,” admitted Donaghey, “There’s no excuse for that but listen Shaun Leppard has improved beyond belief, Rhys McDermott has come on leaps and bounds and quite a few others have stepped up to the task so things are certainly looking more positive with more competition.
“By bringing in that bit of experience from Gareth and Jake, that will help us even more. Gareth and Jake were part of the squad that won the Championship and Gareth was one of our best players in the Premier Division a few years ago so his energy and drive will help everyone.”
The ’Stute manager also confirmed that attacking winger Walsh is a few weeks away from returning. The ex-Finn Harps man played through the pain barrier for a number weeks after suffering a stress fracture on his foot.