Manager Brian Donaghey wants his Institute players to make his life a misery!

Institute manager Brian Donaghey says he would relish a few sleepless nights over team selection as he prepares to rotate his squad for the Tuesday's League Cup tie against the PSNI in the Limavady Showgrounds (k.o 7.45pm).

Tuesday, 14th September 2021, 7:00 am
Institute’s Gabriel Aduaka watches as his effort goes narrowly wide against H&W Welders at Brandywell Stadium on Saturday afternoon last. Photo: George Sweeney. DER2136GS – 110

Donaghey suffered his first defeat since being appointed two weeks ago in Saturday’s narrow 1-0 reversal against Harland & Wolff Welders, a result which brought to an end a run of three successive victories for the Waterside men. Despite the result, there were a number of positives for Donaghey whose team were let down by a lack of a cutting edge in a game with precious little between the sides.

Stute were missing Cormac Burke and striker Aaron McGurk at the weekend and are likely to be missing players again against PSNI though Donaghey’s is hoping those that step in will give him food for thought.

“Players would tell you they’d rather play games,” explained the Stute boss, “I was a player myself and you would rather play than train. Tuesday night will be another opportunity for a few players to stake a claim and see what they are about. It will be an opportunity for me to take a look at a few things as well.

Institute's Jamie Dunne and H&W Welders’ Matthew Henry battle for possession at Brandywell on Saturday afternoon last. Photo: George Sweeney. DER2136GS – 104

“They all want to impress and that’s what I want as a manager. I have said to them from day one, make my life a misery; make me have sleepless nights about picking a team because at this moment in time I have no problem picking it but it’s up to the players to make it difficult for me. If anyone does well in this team, I don’t care what age you are or what your name is, you will play in my team.”

With barely time to pause for breath since his appointment, Donaghey has managed only one training session with his squad but says he’s already seeing some positive signs of progress, although he admits his team need to start converting a greater percentage of the chances they are creating.

“That’s why the top forwards in the world get paid the top money, because the hardest thing in the world is to put the ball in the back of the net,” he added, “A top striker takes your team to a different level. You could have a mediocre team who work hard and defend well but then a bit of magic up top is the difference between winning games and losing games.

“And that’s no disrespect to young Walsh and Aaron McGurk who was very good last week, but listen we’ll get better at it. I have only had one training session with them but I can already see that they have probably played more football (against Welders) than in a long time.

“I’m looking forward to getting my teeth into the group but I’m not going to be too down on them after the weekend because games come thick and fast in this league and we will never get too down when we lose and we won’t get too ahead of ourselves if we win.”

Reflecting on the Welders defeat, Donaghey was upbeat but admitted the visitors’ experience had been too much for his young team at times.

“With an experienced striker, that game has a different scoreline but listen, I was quite pleased with the second half. I knew coming in to the game that Welders had some wily characters. They have a lot of experience and it’s difficult when the get their noses in front.

“Welders have a group of players who have been there for four or five years and are established. They were cute and a bit more streetwise than us. From what I heard they did the same against Ballinamallard, they went 2-1 ahead and simply shut up shop.

“Without really peppering them, I thought we had a lot of pressure but without any real threat. We missed the final pass at times but I was pleased with a lot of aspects from that second half. I thought we played on the front foot, kept the ball well and got to grips with the midfield much better.

“Our back four were very comfortable but did we do enough to score? Probably not but we will get better.”