Ballymena United boss David Jeffrey looking to see off Reds challenge

David Jeffrey
David Jeffrey

Ballymena United boss David Jeffrey wants to keep his unbeaten run intact when Cliftonville visit the Warden Street Showgrounds on Saturday for a rearranged Danske Premiership game.

Since replacing Glenn Ferguson in the Sky Blues’ hot-seat, Jeffrey has enjoyed a scoreless draw at Crusaders before securing his first victory with a battling 3-1 success against Warrenpoint Town.

United, however, haven’t been in action since that win over Barry Gray’s boys on March 19 as their proposed league games with Cliftonville and Glenavon were postponed as both clubs had players away on Northern Ireland international duty.

“We have been left kicking our heels through no fault of our own,” said Jeffrey. “We haven’t played for almost a fortnight which is hardly ideal at this time of the season.

“I would encourage the Northern Ireland Football League to perhaps review their rule book in terms of players representing our country at Under-19 and Under-21 level.

“It’s absolutely nothing to do with Cliftonville or Glenavon. They have done nothing wrong . . . neither has broken any rule.

“But as it stands, Northern Ireland Under-19 and Under-21 games take preference over senior Irish Premiership fixtures.

“That can’t be healthy for our game.”

The Reds arrive still licking their wounds after a series of horrible results.

In fact, they haven’t tasted victory since the start of last month when they defeated Glentoran at the Oval.

Having crashed out of the Irish Cup after consuming a heavy home loss to Linfield which was followed by a league defeat by David Healy’s side.

“We need to get back on track - and quickly,” says Reds boss Gerard Lyttle, who this week as brought former midfielder Brian Donaghy on to his coaching staff. Donaghy scored five goals in 53 appearances in a red shirt.