Barry Gray is hoping that the prospect of a happy homecoming can give Warrenpoint Town a significant boost in their battle for Danske Bank Premiership survival.
Newry & Mourne District Council last week announced a major investment in facilities which could see the Point – who are ground-sharing with Dungannon Swifts – back playing games at their Milltown base before the turn of the year.
“Work has started, we have contractors on site, up to their knees in muck!” said Gray after watching his side claim full points from their trip to Ballymena.
“The target is to be back by Christmas. We haven’t set a date yet because there are a couple of variables in the construction work that we need to get settled in the next week or two but we’ll be hoping to put a date on that but the sooner the better as far as we’re concerned.
“We have a small following that follow us no matter where we go but it will be a boost for everyone - players, management, supporters, the town, sponsors - who have stuck by us.
“Dungannon is only an hour down the road but over the course of week it’s extra travel that we don’t need.
“There’s also the mental impact - there’s nothing nicer than sitting in your own changing room in your own ground and we hope that will give us a boost in mid-season.”
Modest Gray also refused to take the credit for the substitution which saw Stephen Hughes score the only goal of the game four minutes after his half-time introduction.
“Stephen will be saying I made the wrong decision not to play him in the first place!” laughed the manager.
“There wasn’t much in the first half but we made a change at half-time which paid off and we had something to protect in the later stages.
“We just thought we saw an opportunity where we could get two strikers further up the pitch and it has worked out for us.
“The mountain is big to climb and there are several aspects that most clubs coming up don’t have – financial, ground and player restrictions – but we’re dealing with it and the players have been fantastic.”
For Ballymena United boss Glenn Ferguson it was a case of Groundhog Day with another flop from his players in front of their own fans.
“It’s a very, very long time since I have been embarrassed in football but I’m embarrassed today,” fumed Ferguson.
“You win games by having quality at the top end of the pitch and at the minute we’re not capitalising on the chances we’re creating.
“The boys have got to hold their hands up and I take responsibility ultimately for the result. I felt some of the performances today were totally inept.
“There are players who have had the arm around the shoulder and they haven’t been very responsive to it so maybe it’s time for a kick up the backside,” added Ferguson.