Barry Gray is hoping for a second chance at saving Warrenpoint Town that, within the romance of a return to the club he helped guide into Irish League football, remains the reality of his own return to the dug-out.
It is a second chance denied his predecessor, Stephen McDonnell, following the Warrenpoint officials’ decision to axe the youngest manager in the Danske Bank Premiership for a familiar face.
One of football’s harsh realities is that the majority of managers must wait to take advantage of colleagues’ perceived failures.
Within the limited opportunities of Irish League management, the accepted belief is it is better to embrace any challenge compared to a seat on the outside of the managerial merry-go-round.
Gray will look to the January transfer window as his opportunity to transfer Warrenpoint’s position from the side with the lowest points tally, fewest goals scored and most conceded.
McDonnell produced one great escape last season following six consecutive defeats but one win in 12 from the current campaign left those in the Warrenpoint hierarchy hoping for a change in fortune with a change in manager.
Gray, by his own assessment, has inherited a squad short of confidence but long in injury issues and with time on contracts unequal to time on the pitch.
McDonnell’s vision for Warrenpoint appeared centred on young players he could mould into a style of play with the focus on possession and passing. It was admirable and McDonnell left Warrenpoint with the sting of the sack softened by widespread plaudits for his ambition.
Now Gray has come back aiming to adopt a more pragmatic approach in pursuit of a rescue mission.
Success would vindicate the decision by those in power at Warrenpoint and Gray can calculate the value of being back in the inner circle when the biggest blow to any manager’s reputation is often time on the outside more than results from the sideline.