Point boss has eyes on first win
Danske Bank Premiership: Institute v Warrenpoint Town (today, the Brandywell, 3pm)
WARRENPOINT Town manager Stephen McDonnell has said that today's away clash with Institute is exactly the sort of fixture that they need to take at least a point from.
After opening with losses to Coleraine and Glenavon, the Seasiders are set to play Crusaders, Ballymena United, Linfield and Cliftonville in four of their next five league games.
That means that six of their first seven games are against last year's top six – so the trip to the Brandywell carries extra significance.
“It's a massive game, both for ourselves and Institute,” said McDonnell.
“We need to come away from the Brandywell with something on the board, whether that's three points or a point.
“We can't go up there and lose and we are well capable of winning the game.
“We have played two decent outfits in the first two weeks. We did cause them problems so we're pretty confident that we'll be fine but it's just a matter of knitting together the whole new group.
“We need to have something coming home on the bus though.”
While the Brandywell is not a home venue for ‘Stute, it's where they will play all their home games this season and they have already defeated Warrenpoint's neighbours Newry City there.
For McDonnell, he's hoping that the match provides further evidence that his new squad is starting to learn how to play with each other.
“We have 11 new signings and it takes time,” he said.
“It could have went two ways with so many new players. You could have hit the ground running, which was very unlikely to happen.
“We have new bodies on the pitch and in the backroom team so there's a lot of transition there for everybody.
“The other way is that it takes a bit of time to gel and that's what is happening.
“We're together eight weeks now and we're going into our third league game, and I would expect us to be better week-on-week from here on in.
“You can see the cohesion improving in training and even meeting up before games, and hopefully we see that more on the pitch too this weekend.”
The Milltown club added to their playing resources yesterday with the addition of Robbie Norton from Glenavon in a loan move. The young midfielder could make his debut this afternoon.
“Robbie will go straight into the matchday squad,” McDonnell confirmed.
Elsewhere, Cliftonville have scored an injury-time winner and conceded an injury-time loser in their first two games, and they'll be hoping for a more routine victory when they travel to face Dungannon Swifts.
Barry Gray's side were stunned at Solitude last week as Aaron Burns struck late to give Coleraine a 2-1 win, but they should respond with a victory here.
The Bannsiders have won both their opening fixtures and return to Belfast today to face Glentoran at the Oval.
David Healy's Linfield are the only other side with a 100 percent record after the first two rounds and that will give them plenty of confidence as they make the short trip to Seaview to face champions Crusaders.
Today's other game will see Ards host Ballymena United as the home side chases their first points of the season.