Institute's Cormac Burke aiming to see of leaders Loughgall
Captain Cormac Burke hopes Institute can carry their recent form into tomorrow’s clash at league leaders, Loughgall.
The Villagers have had an impressive start to the season, winning six and drawing one in their opening seven games, but Burke says the Drumahoe club will go to Lakeview Park aiming for a positive result.
The Creggan man believes ’Stute should be further up the table and feels they’ve dropped too many points already, some of those points were throwing away when they were in a winning positions.
“The games we drew, those results were frustrating,” explained Burke. “We were 3-0 up at Newington and should win that game; 1-0 against Ballinamallard, again, you should win that game so realistically we should have another four or five points.
“But look, we’re going into the Loughgall game with a bit of confidence. Obviously they’re flying high and haven’t lost a game yet so we’re under no illusion that it’s going to be a tough game.
“At the end of last year they kind of came good and you were thinking maybe this season they would carry that form on but I’m pretty sure no one would have had them winning six games out of seven and still being unbeaten.
“However, if anybody can beat anybody, then the Championship is certainly that league and, as I said, we’re going there with our confidence up and going there to win.”
The 29-year-old feels the Waterside men have tightened up defensively and hopes they can start taking their chances in the final third more often. If that happens he sees no reason why they can’t record a positive result tomorrow afternoon.
Burke also admits that the whole team has worked hard to ensure they are a lot more solid at the back.
“We’re not going up there to sit back, we’re going up there to play our own game and try to come back down the road with three points,” he insisted.
“I think the only game this year in which we let ourselves down was at the (H&W) Welders. I have never been involved with a team where literally 11 players were completely off it and we got punished that day.
“Someone was saying at training that we had conceded 22 goals before our last two league games but we have now kept two clean-sheets and scored five so we’re definitely going in the right direction.
“When you have the likes of Jamie Dunne, who was player of the month in the final month of last season, starting to find that kind of form again and ‘Bushy’ (Cathair Friel) is going to score goals wherever he goes.
“Over the last couple of games we have looked more solid and had that sustained bit of pressure. We’ve looked dangerous and look as if we can score two or three goals a game so hopefully that continues.
“Probably the most pleasing thing for us as a team is that we don’t look as if we’re going to concede as many as we did before.
“We had a bad spell recently with the Welders game we lost 5-0, then the Glentoran match in the League Cup on the Tuesday after when we were beat 7-0. That’s 12 goals in two matches and if you’re conceding that amount of goals you’re never going to win football matches.”
For manager Brian Donaghey, he believes Loughgall and Warrenpoint Town are the two best teams in the Lough 41 Championships so he knows their next two encounters, both on the road, are going to be tough, but having faced most teams in the division, he feels his squad can get positive results over the next few weeks.
“We have two really, really tough games in my estimation,” stated Donaghey, “I think Loughgall and Warrenpoint are the two best teams in the league. That said, we’ve no need to fear anyone now. We’ve played nearly everyone; I think we have only three teams to play.
“We were always confident that we would put a run of results together. It’s going to be very tough, of course it is, but we won down there last year, 2-0 and a repeat of that result would be fantastic.”
While defender Rhys McDermott is likely to be out for a few weeks with a knee problem, Donaghey feels the club have unearthed a quality player in midfielder Alonzo Clarke.
He believes the American, who wasn’t available for a number of months because of clearance issues, has been superb in recent weeks and has settled into life well with ’Stute.
Donaghey also said having experienced duo, Shaun Doherty and Burke, means they now have a good blend at the heart of midfield.
“Alonzo has been a revelation,” added Donaghey. “It took us a long, long time to get his clearance through but in the last three games he’s been so important and pivotal to what we’re trying to do.
“His work rate is phenomenal. He keeps the ball simple and he does the ugly stuff well, he’s actually better at it than some people give him credit for.
“Then you have the class of Burke and the composure of Shaun Doherty in beside him; it’s a good mix at the moment and it’s keeping everybody fit and healthy. A special word of praise too because in the last two games, when we make subs, now they are coming on and making an impact on the game.”