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Roy Coyle's view

By Roy Coyle
The Irish League's most successful manager

Roy Coyle
Roy Coyle has managed both Linfield and Glentoran

As far as I'm concerned, the race for the Carling Premiership title is over.

Linfield are five points clear and are used to the situation and the pressure that goes with it - they know how to handle it.

It's in their own hands and they can afford to drop a few points so I can't see them not winning it from here.

The arrival of Peter Thompson on loan during the January transfer window has had a big influence on the team.

Having a player of his calibre back on board, knowing what he had done previously at the club, will have given the dressing room a massive lift and it's no coincidence that his return has seen the Blues' form improve.

The demands at Linfield are huge and David Jeffrey will have known that a failure to win the league this year could have seen him lose his job at Windsor Park.

Across the city, Glentoran's fortunes seem to have changed a bit with a fresh face coming into the manager's chair.

Scott Young is saying and doing the right things and he has made some big decisions without respect for reputations.

The directors seem keen for him to do well as he has been there for more than 10 years and has an insight into the club's workings and an affection for it.

I've been listening to his interviews in the media and he is very enthusiastic, maybe too enthusiastic at times, but I think he could maybe make a good manager.

Crusaders have fallen short after a promising start to the season and it seems they have not been able to handle the pressure of running with the big boys at the front - they're just not used to it.

Portadown have shown that they have quality in their team by challenging strongly for a top six place after a poor start to the season

Their squad is not as big as those of their rivals and their downfall has been poor results against the teams further down the league. They know they have got to lift their game.

Cliftonville are a very good footballing side but their playing surface needs a major overhaul as it could seriously dent their chance of winning championships.

Coleraine have been able to win many of their big games away from home but their matches against teams in the bottom half of the league have left them struggling to make the top six.

The Bannsiders have arguably the best forward line in the league when their players are on form, with Rory Patterson, Darren Boyce and Stephen Carson all in their ranks.

Patterson is a talented player and it is up to his manager to work with him, instil the right attitude and enforce discipline.

His forthcoming move to Glentoran is an interesting one but he will not be there too long if he starts to mess about - the club comes before any individual player at the Oval.

Portadown have shown that they have quality in their team by challenging strongly for a top six place after a poor start to the season.

They have taken some time to adjust back to the Premier League after a year in the Championship but they still have a chance of winning a trophy as they are in the last four in the Irish Cup.

Ballymena United are a youngish side and have not had the experience to achieve any sort of consistency.

They can beat any team on their day but when they're not on form, anyone can turn them over.

You never know what team is going to turn up, but with Kevin Kelbie and Andy Smith in their side they should be scoring more goals and be further up the table.

Dixie Robinson
Dixie Robinson's side has played attractive attacking football

Dungannon Swifts have impressed me with the manner in which they play the game.

They are good to watch and play some nice football but the end product is lacking at times.

They always seem to enjoy a lot of possession but they need a cutting edge - finishing has been their problem.

Glenavon's poor form in the latter half of the season has puzzled me a bit as they have quality and experience in their squad, with the likes of Trevor Molloy, Tony Grant and Willo McDonagh.

Apart from their recent win at Windsor Park, they don't seem to be able to do it when it matters and just fall short in the big games.

They are a big club in Irish League terms and have got things right off the pitch with their excellent ground and facilities, but they can't seem to get it right on the pitch.

Lisburn Distillery could have gone into freefall given their disastrous start to the season but the manager and the players deserve a lot of credit and a finish above what seemed like an inevitable bottom place is now in their own hands.

Given the recent changes of personnel at the club and their well documented financial difficulties, they have done well to lift morale.

John Gregg has done a remarkable job as manager of Institute but they have hit a terrible run of form at a bad time of the season and it's difficult to make any progress with the meagre resources at their disposal.

It seems that they lose any good players they have to the bigger clubs.

No team has had enough quality to run away with the league this year and I feel the so-called lesser teams could have benefitted from the lack of consistency shown by Linfield and Glentoran.

The provincial clubs should be starting to threaten but they have not been able to sustain a challenge.

Roy Coyle was talking to BBC Sport NI's Richard Petrie

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see also
Roy Coyle's view
28 Sep 09 |  Irish

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