Rodney McAree insists he is under no illusions as he plots Dungannon Swifts’ survival bid in the Danske Bank Premiership.
McAree was named as Darren Murphy’s successor on Tuesday and kicked-off his tenure with a confidence-building 3-0 win over Dollingstown in the Mid Ulster Cup.
On Saturday it will be back to the bread and butter issue of the Premiership for Dungannon’s new head coach – and the visit of Linfield to Stangmore Park.
“It is a tough one, no doubt about it. But it is one of those games that can be good for the players,” McAree said of the clash with David Healy’s Blues.
“Nobody will be expecting us to get anything from Linfield. The pundits and everyone else will be writing us off, and that’s fine.
“It takes the pressure off my players a little bit, and we can go out and express ourselves on Saturday and try and get a positive result.
“The Premiership is our main focus. We have eight points from 13 games and sit second from bottom in the table. The stats don’t lie.
“But when I look around the dressing room, I see quality players. I would even go as far as saying this is the strongest Dungannon squad we have had in years.
“We just need to get that confidence back and start working hard again, and the results will come.”
McAree admits his appointment heralds a “new chapter” for his players.
“I said to them on Tuesday that this is a new beginning. A fresh start,” he added.
“I told them to forget about the past and focus on what lies ahead. I don’t want to start ranting and raving. I want the players to know I am approachable and that they can come and talk to me.
“We are facing up to a massive challenge, but it isn’t one I am afraid of. That’s because I know I have a good squad of players who can compete against anyone in this league. So we can’t wait for Saturday and the visit of Linfield.”
McAree welcomes back Jamie Glackin from suspension for Saturday’s game.