January joy the target for Barry Gray and Warrenpoint Town
Barry Gray is seeking January joy to save Warrenpoint Town’s season.
A third successive defeat in Gray’s second spell as Town boss on his first game back at former club Cliftonville served to confirm the need for new faces in the New Year.
“No-one wants to get beat, especially not in the fashion we were today but we must be respectful of what we have to work with and we don’t have enough to compete with Cliftonville, the league’s in-form team neck-in-neck with Coleraine,” said Gray. “The January window cannot come quick enough.
“The reality is we’ve inherited a squad that’s weak in depth, weak in balance and riddled with injury.
“We have a first-team panel of 20 and at least six out injured.
“There’s an imbalance in the age range of the squad, with so many so young.
“It’s not a group of players me or my staff are familiar with, so we are watching games to assess ahead of the January transfer window our priorities.
“It’s a case of taking stock of what we have then looking to try and strengthen in January with what we need - experienced players.
“That’s what you need to get you out of a relegation battle.
“We are working hard in the background and trying to understand our key areas plus if we can unlock something extra in the changing room.
“I’ve been here before and been relegated with Warrenpoint Town.
“In that season we signed Johnny McMurray and Martin Murray from Cliftonville in January, which was nearly enough to save us.
“Those two players came into a squad which had lost 13 on the bounce and then went 11 or 12 unbeaten after they joined.
“That was huge and we need to try and do something similar to that in this January window.
“We know we are asking players to come into a team sitting rock bottom so it’s going to be a challenge.
“It is about offering opportunities that other clubs cannot, in terms of gametime.
“Johnny McMurray came to us, did really well for the second half of that season which got him moving on and he’s now in a full-time football scenario.
“Both Johnny and Marty’s careers gained a boost from coming to Warrenpoint at that point.
“We will investigate all avenues.
“We’ve got kids playing for the first time in Irish League senior football and losing so many games before we came in means confidence is low.
“We are focusing on those small positives from games which, if you can get another few, maybe we can put something together.”