Allan’s having time of his life

Allan Jenkins. Pic by PressEye Ltd.

Allan Jenkins. Pic by PressEye Ltd.

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Ballymena United skipper Allan Jenkins is having the time of his life - and he owes it all to the front two.

Well, not quite - but the powerhouse midfielder is certainly getting a thrill out of playing in behind United’s in-form strike pairing.

Cathair Friel and Johnny McMurray have helped to fire United up to third (well, joint second really) in the league and for Jenkins, who has suffered many a hard day in a Sky Blue shirt, it’s a special journey to be on.

“I haven’t enjoyed my football as much in a long time - playing in a team who are winning and playing good football,” he said.

“It’s down to what the players do on the pitch but the management have to take a huge amount of credit for how they have rejuvenated us and for building the squad that they are building.”

Friel, the Danske Bank Premiership’s top scorer, was plucked from Limavady United and he has bagged 14 goals in all competitions. His partner in crime McMurray, a summer signing from Cliftonville, has bagged another eight.

“They’re definitely the best partnership I’ve played with in my time here,” said Jenkins. “For two guys who didn’t know each other to come in and link up so well is crazy. The way they work together and the threat they give us is fantastic. It’s a huge part of our team.

“We’ve had the likes of McCutcheon and Cushley, great individual forward players but these guys are at a different level as a partnership. Every team must fear the worst coming up against them, particularly with the form they are in.

“They have a good understanding. They’re good footballers so they can take the ball into feet and both of them are really quick as well so they can run in behind. Defenders must not know whether to go tight on them or what to do. Thankfully they’re playing in Sky Blue and not for anyone else.”

Tony Kane is another man amonst the top scorers in the division, he’s bagged nine goals in all competitions from the penalty spot. Even that, Jenkins reckons, is down to the front two.

He said: “I haven’t looked into it but I’d guarantee that most of those have been won by Cathair or Johnny beating defenders, who then have to make a last ditch tackle. Tony has a 100% record as well so long may that continue.

“We’ve been on good runs before but usually those came at the end of the season when the games were almost irrelevant.

“We conceded a couple of sloppy ones on Saturday but as long as we’re scoring plenty of goals and can outscore other teams, that’s the biggest thing.”