Sack rumours 'out of my control' says Stephen McDonnell as he keeps his focus on Warrenpoint Town turnaround

Warrenpoint Town manager Stephen McDonnell
Warrenpoint Town manager Stephen McDonnell
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Stephen McDonnell is refusing to let rumours over his job security as Warrenpoint Town manager derail work on turning around the club's fortunes.

McDonnell's Town side host Dungannon Swifts this weekend aiming to stop the rot following eight consecutive Danske Bank Premiership defeats, having conceded 29 goals across the opening few months of the league season.

The 27-year-old stands aware of growing rumours over a managerial change and his potential dismissal from the Warrenpoint hot-seat but will not allow speculation to switch focus from the priority of getting points on the board.

"I've heard the rumours about getting the sack but certainly I've not had any conversation with the powers-that-be," said McDonnell. "I think if a decision was made to sack me at Warrenpoint it would be a kneejerk reaction given we only sit four points off Institute and six away from Carrick Rangers.

"My concern is continuing to work hard on ways to get us the result we need to push forward and I still have belief in what we are trying to do at this club.

"I'm in regular dialogue with the officials at the club and there are ongoing discussions over all aspects.

"Speculation over managers is all part of the game and in the past I was linked with other jobs myself, so I cannot spend time thinking about events out of my control.

"The people at the club know the situation stands that I've basically had a pool of 12 players to work with since the opening day of the season.

"If we were 10 or 12 points behind the rest of the teams that's a very different conversation I would imagine and I've every faith we will get it right."

The only change of immediate concern this week for McDonnell was on the training pitch and the tactical tweaks he hopes can help turn the tables.

"We've had some good conversations this week with the players and, as a coaching staff, analysed everything," he said. "Teams are not cutting us open as such, instead mistakes are costing us so we've looked at the situation.

"It could be a case of players subconsciously thinking they must always play a certain way in any situation, maybe playing it back to the goalkeeper so we can build another move from the back in a scenario when most other clubs would hump it up the pitch.

"Historically, teams at the bottom tend to be dogged so we've worked on tweaking our style to help us get over this period.

"It's not about betraying our beliefs but instead recognising we've not kept a clean sheet and need to first get that foundation in place again by proving hard to beat - then we can start with a clean slate and go back to our way of playing.

"This is a temporary adjustment due to the circumstances and once players start to return from injury and our confidence improves off better results we can revert back.

"With only 12 players this season, 13 at most, it really makes it difficult to play our way."