'We can't put the cart before the horse' - Larne boss Lynch urges patience

Tiernan Lynch
Lynch led Larne to the Championship title with five games to spare last season
Irish Premiership: Larne v Glentoran
Venue: Inver Park Date: Friday 18 October Kick-off: 19:45 BST
Coverage: Live on BBC Two NI (coverage begins at 19:30 BST) and live text commentary on the BBC Sport website

Larne boss Tiernan Lynch has said his players are still "finding their feet" in the Irish Premiership and stressed the need for them to be patient.

The East Antrim men are seventh in the Irish Premiership table, 10 matches into their return to the top flight after winning promotion last season.

Two cup defeats have seen them lose their last three matches, but Lynch remains upbeat ahead of Friday night's visit of Glentoran.

"We have to be patient," he said.

"I didn't sit down at the start of the season and think about where we need to be after 10 games. I keep telling people that we are on a journey.

"This time next year I might think very differently if we are where we are at this stage of the season, but a lot of our players are still getting used to Irish League football, which is very unique.

"There is probably a little bit of frustration because we know we are capable of more, but we can't put the cart before the horse.

"I've been hugely encouraged by a lot of the things we have done - we just need to keep working hard and see where this goes."

Jeff Hughes
Larne captain Jeff Hughes is an injury doubt for Friday's game

Larne's County Antrim Shield exit to the Glens on Tuesday night followed last weekend's Premiership loss to Cliftonville and a shock League Cup defeat by Championship side Dundela four days earlier.

It means the Inver men have won just once in their last six outings, but Lynch has insisted he does not feel under any pressure because of recent results - and praised the Larne fans for their support.

"I felt we should have got more out of the league match against Cliftonville, while in the cup games we tinkered with the team and changed formations a little bit," explained Lynch, who also revealed that Johnny McMurray and captain Jeff Hughes are injury doubts for the Glentoran match.

"That is not sour grapes or a lack of respect for those competitions, but that is not my priority right now.

"There is no team in the world that would come together in the short space of time that we have and just click. This is a process and it is going to take time.

"We are pleased with our progress so far. It's not where we want to end up, it's not our final product, but we have to go through the stages.

"Our fans have been outstanding from the minute I walked in the door. They are human and no doubt got used to seeing us dominating games last season, but I think they realise the step up that we have made."

Mick McDermott
Glens boss Mick McDermott took over at the Oval in March

Lynch has been hugely impressed this season with Glentoran who, like Larne, are looking to make the most of significant financial backing.

The east Belfast outfit came from behind to win Tuesday's Shield tie 3-2 after extra-time at the Oval, but Lynch is expecting there to be changes to both managers' line-ups on Friday.

"I thought there was very little between us on Tuesday, with both sides probably having one eye on Friday night," he added.

"Glentoran are a top side. They definitely seem to have been rejuvenated under Mick (McDermott), are well organised and work hard."