Focused Barry Gray is refusing to press any panic alarms with Warrenpoint

Warrenpoint Town manager Barry Gray
Warrenpoint Town manager Barry Gray

Warrenpoint Town boss Barry Gray doesn’t intend to press the panic button now that his team are guaranteed a relegation play-off spot.

Jamie Glackin’s late equaliser for Dungannon Swifts condemned Town to the 11th place in the Danske Bank Premiership table.

Gray takes his boys to the North West on Saturday for what is now a meaningless meeting with Oran Kearney’s struggling Coleraine at Ballycastle Road.

However, Gray insists it’s ideal preparation for the play-off showdown against the Championship One runners-up.

“Premiership teams have a good record in the play-offs,” said Gray.

“In fact, we are the only team to ever have been promoted when we defeated Donegel Celtic over the two legs.

“Hopefully, the stats will stay in our favour. To be honest, if we can’t beat a Championship team in two attempts, then we shouldn’t be in the Premiership.

“I’m confident we can sustain our place in the top flight.

“We still have two league games remaining – at Coleraine at Ballinamallard, so we have to be professional about it, even though there is not a lot riding on those fixtures.”

In a strange quirk of fate, it was Gray’s birthday last Saturday, but he didn’t feel like celebrating.

“The bottom line is, our play-off position was confirmed at week, but it was the previous run of results that contributed to it,” he added.

“Had we won, we would still have required a miracle to get away from the bottom two.

“We must now finish the season the best we can. Yes, we have the play-off looming, so it’s now all about managing the squad in terms of injuries over the next two games.”

Meanwhile, Coleraine chief Oran Kearney insists his team’s performances this season are a reflection on the constraints with the budget he is working with.

“It has been cut in my four years in the job,” he said.

“We are still being judged on what has happened in the past in terms of success.

“The reality is we are performing in line with the budget we are working with.

“It’s the same for the likes of Ballinamallard and Dungannon, who are similar to us financially. They are delighted to have secured the place in the Premiership.

“Injuries to key players also took their toll over the course of the season. But we have a number of great young players emerging, which is a bonus.

“I firmly believe if our important players stay free from injury, we can out performa the budget next season.”