Barry Gray hopes rest has helped his players

Barry Gray
Barry Gray

Barry Gray is hoping his team’s unscheduled ‘rest’ will pay dividends ahead of Friday night’s crucial Danske Premiership clash with Ballinamallard United at Milltown.

After an impressive run of results over the month of January - which earned Gray his first Manager of the Month award - the league’s basement team have been left kicking their heels over the past fortnight.

They played no part in last week’s Irish Cup sixth round games while their proposed outing the previous Saturday was wiped out due to the weather.

Warrenpoint have built up a serious head of steam in their attempt to reel in the clubs above them, having put together an unbeaten run of six games. They are now within touching distance of Carrick Rangers and Dungannon . . . and four points behind Ballinamallard.

Not for the first time, Gray rates tonight’s clash as a six-pointer.

“It’s probably even more than that,” he said. “A win would give us a six point turnaround while it will be another game stroked off.

“With all respect to Ballinamallard, it games like this we have to win. I’ve said all along, it’s not about what we do against Crusaders, Cliftonville or Linfield, it’s about how we fare against the teams around us in the table.

“We face a massive few weeks, which could well determined the rest of our campaign.”

Warrenpoint’s last outing was the 4-0 thumping of Glentoran at the Oval. That came on the heels of wins over Coleraine and Portadown.

“We’ve had a couple of weeks’ rest, so hopefully it will help re-energise the squad.”

“We now have competition for places. We haven’t conceded a goal in our last three games, so everyone is making a contribution. That’s the ugly side of it that perhaps doesn’t catch the headlines.

“We’ve had some really positive results. But there is no point in beating the likes of Coleraine, Portadown and Glentoran if we are going to drop points against teams just above us in the table. This is our chance to reel them in.”