Ballymena United defender Jim Ervin admits a European play-off slot is not on his team’s agenda ahead of Saturday’s clash against Carrick Rangers at the Loughshore Hotel Arena.
Even though the Sky Blueshave inched 10 points clear of basement side Warrenpoint Town, Ervin stresses the fight to avoid possible relegation from the Danske Premiership continues.
United are five games unbeaten since the arrival of David Jeffrey. But with Gary Gary Haveron’s Rangers fighting for their lives in the drop zone, Ervin knows it will be another testing 90 minutes in East Antrim.
“Big Davy has made a decisive impact since he joined the club,” said Ervin. “He set the same standards he expected when he was in charge of Linfield and the players have all bought into it.
“He generates a lot of positivity with his mental approach. We’ve drawn with three of the top five - Crusaders, Cliftonville and Glenavon, but we must keep that going.”
Ervin dismisses talk of United claiming seventh place in the table that would edge them into the European play-offs.
“Our priority is to guarantee our top flight status,” he adds. “Yes, getting a Euro play-off spot would be a bonus, but we are not even thinking along those lines.
“Carrick are battling for every point. They have already beaten Crusaders at their place and by all accounts were unlucky to lose out to Cliftonville.
“Every team is capable the other on any given day in this league, so we are preparing for what will be a difficult game."