Lisburn Distillery Head Coach Sean-Paul Murray is calling on youth for the club’s Championship One match at Institute tomorrow (Saturday).
In the absence of a league match last weekend, the new boss took a practice match, where he got the chance to see a number of Under 19 players in action.
Murray was so impressed he is set to call up some of the youngsters - some as young as 17 - tomorrow.
“We took a practice game on Saturday and got a good look at the Under 19’s,” he said.
“There were five in the Under 19 squad we had a good look at, to give them the opportunity.
“Some of the Under 19’s really impressed. Some did really well and will be in the squad for Saturday.
“We are getting to know the squad and the club. I was at the 135th Anniversary dinner and it was a great night out. Meeting past players and managers, the club is a million miles away from where they once were and we have to try to bring them back to their former state in the top flight.
“First of all we have to ensure we stay in this league,” Murray added.
“I’m looking forward to Saturday,” said Murray. “I’ve had more time to work with the players.
“The players have been doing what I’ve been asking them to do. I’m starting to see their conditioning is improving. They’re fitting into the system I want them to play. Their attitude and commitment has improved.
“Performances have improved, but we aren’t getting the results yet. I’d have preferred to take it the other way around.
“Performance has to improve to win games. The performance has improved but not to the level where we can win games.
“Against Knockbreda we weren’t as competent as our first match. They were really working the boys hard. The conditions didn’t help, it was a blowy day and a boggy pitch, they are a big physical side and we couldn’t keep the ball down and play around them.”
Despite not getting the desired results so far, Murray is confident they will come soon.
“There has been progress. As long as we continue to improve we will get results.”
Distillery have been missing several players through suspension and injury and Murray can soon welcome members of his squad back.
“We have a few back on Saturday,” he commented. “And Mikey Withers is back from a long term injury. He’s a talented young lad.
“The biggest boost around at the club has been the Under 19’s. There are some really good players; it’s encouraging.
“It’s a long term project to bring the club back. We are not Manchester City, we can’t just buy players, we have to develop players, but there is a decent youth set up here. It’s encouraging the kids I have seen.
“Institute are a good side. They are well organised, a young side. It will be a difficult test for us and I hope we have done enough preparation to get something out of it.
“It is the stereotypical six-pointer,” Murray added.
“We need to get something out of it; we have to get a result, that’s the bottom line.
“It will set us up nicely against DC if we can get a result.
“A goal, a deflection can change the future. Something can kick start a revival. One goal can snowball from survival one year to promotion the next.
“We have got to ensure our players are good enough, that’s what we’re aiming for.
“I am very confident with the existing players we have and new players added in January, we can put in a challenge in the new year, and if we can pick up results now then even better.”