Glenn Ferguson believes Ballymena United are gradually making strides in the right direction.
The Sky Blues endured a horrid baptism of fire on the opening day of the Premiership season – suffering a 6-3 hammering to Glenavon in front of their home fans.
It was a depressing start to the campaign for the Showgrounds club, but one that wasn’t allowed to fester too long on Warden Street.
A pattern of inconsistency punctuated by some impressive results followed, but since mid-November Ballymena’s renaissance has gathered some serious momentum.
Just one defeat in their last 10 Premiership fixtures has seen Ferguson’s side soar into the top six – where they hold a healthy eight-point lead over nearest rivals Glenavon and Dungannon Swifts.
It has been steady progress, something Ferguson is keen to continue during the rest of the campaign.
“It has been pleasing this season, especially considering there was little transfer activity last summer,” Ferguson said.
“It has always been the case, where if we want someone in, we need to let somebody go.
“We have to keep things balanced, so it was difficult. Maybe that’s what makes this season more rewarding.
“The board set me targets when I arrived. One was to reach cup semi-finals and finals, and the other was to try and break into the top six.
“We won the County Antrim Shield last season, and we have reached two semi-finals this season. So we have proved we can compete.
“We are also into the top six, but there is a long way to go. Glenavon have two games in hand over us, so they can close the gap.
“But we have the points on board, and that is also important.”
Ballymena’s resurgence continued with Tuesday night’s 3-2 victory over Dungannon Swifts.
It was a positive outing for Ferguson, who watched new signings Jim Ervin and Darren Boyce both score.
“I have known Jim for years during our time at Linfield together, and I know what I am getting,” Ferguson added.
“He is experienced and he has so much quality. The only thing I didn’t know was that he could score – he hasn’t done that too often.
“Darren is a natural goalscorer, and he has proved that in the Irish League. For him to score two in two games is a fantastic start for him.
“They are two more pieces of the jigsaw, and hopefully there will be a couple more arrivals in the summer.
“We will probably have to get rid of two or three, but as long as we keep improving the squad then that’s the key.”