Ballymena United manager David Jeffrey wary of Newry City threat
Ballymena United manager David Jeffrey will be hoping his side can make it 19 games unbeaten when they face Newry City in the Danske Bank Premiership at the Showgrounds on Saturday
The Sky Blues kept their unbeaten run going when they came back from 3-1 down against Coleraine on Boxing Day and the United manager knows what to expect from Darren Mullen’s Newry outfit.
“It is a big game and it is big game because when we went down to Newry, they will feel aggrieved that they did not get a draw or win.
“They played really well that night so we know how tough it will be come Saturday.
“But we are taking it a game at a time and we will probable look to freshen things up again in terms of what we have.
“Newry will be a very tough game for us.”
And Jeffrey says things are going well at the Showgrounds - but no-one is getting carried away at the Showgrounds and they have done nothing yet.
“This is a team that is another League Cup final, this is a team that is in another County Antrim Shield semi-final and a team - for this week - is the best team in the league.
“We know the strength of Crusaders, we know the strength of Linfield, Glenavon, Cliftonville and Coleraine , and we are aware of all that.
“But our club is just quietly going about their business. The players are really focused and they give of their best.
“I trust the players and we gave them time off over Christmas and they knew what they had to do and they were brilliant against Coleraine,” said Jeffrey.
And Newry City manager Mullen is also looking forward to the clash against United and wants his side to bounce back after their 2-2 draw with Warrenpoint Town,.
“We’ve played very well against Ballymena twice and got nothing out of it, but after a game like the one against Warrenpoints, I’d happily go there, play terribly and win.
“But that’s not the way we set ourselves up. We’ll go there and try and win the game and learn from the mistakes we made against Ballymena the last time.
“We’ve played them twice and created chances, but just haven’t taken them,” he said.
And he says the result against Warrenpoint was not easy to accept.
“We’ll let this hurt for a while because it should do, the manner of it.
“People might have said to you before the game that a draw might not have been the worst result, but under the circumstances it has been. We’ll just get ourselves ready to take on Ballymena.
“We were 2-1 up against 10 men and we couldn’t manage the game. We couldn’t pick them off or pass round them. I’m just disappointed in the whole manner of it.
“We didn’t learn our lesson from the last time. Three men stood and watched them kick the ball into the box and we still didn’t deal with it.
“It’s about taking responsibility and we just didn’t do that.
“There’s no way we didn’t deserve to win that game. We should have had it wrapped up as we were the better side from start to finish, but we’ve only got a point for it.
“That’s four points now that we’ve dropped against them and that could cost us dear. I’m not happy at all,” the Newry manager said.
Meanwhile Institute manager Paddy McLaughlin admits he may have to freshen things up for tomorrow’s clash at Glenavon.
“Look, it’s going to be tough, Glenavon are one of the top sides in the division,” he insisted.
“But regardless who we are playing it’s definitely a time to rotate the squad a bit because the boys looked tired on Boxing Day and we had to fight to the very end to get a result and I’m sure that will have a massive effect on them over the next day or two.
“So we have to wrap some of them in cotton wool and see how they are for Saturday.
”Maybe it’s time to introduce a couple of fresh faces for Saturday’s game.”