Seven ‘Cup finals’ facing Warrenpoint Town in battle for survival

Warrenpoint's Mark Hughes
Warrenpoint's Mark Hughes

Warrenpoint Town chief Barry Gray insists that his team’s seven remaining league games are now of ‘cup final’ significance!

Even though Town have a four point cushion between basement side Institute, Gray wants to see his boys out of the play-off zone, which makes Saturday’s clash with Coleraine at Milltown a ‘must win’ encounter.

The teams above, Ballinamallard United and Dungannon Swifts, have been easing away from Town over recent weeks and, with matches evaporating rapidly, Gray knows there is little margin for error.

“Every game is now a cup final,” said Gray.

“We have seven left to get out of the basement department.

“We don’t want to be part of a possible play-off come the end of the season.

“We must get another team between us and Institute -- and I don’t care who it is.

“It’s important to win our home games, starting with Coleraine, which will not be easy.

“But it’s in our hands. And, when the split happens, we’ll be playing the teams in and around us.”

However, Warrenpoint approach what is now a crucial game without influential defenders Mark Hughes and Dermot McVeigh, who are both suspended.

Hard working Stephen McCabe, who limped out of last week’s defeat against at Windsor Park, is also a big doubt.

Stephen Moan is still a long way from full fitness after breaking a bone in his foot.

On the plus side, Daniel Hughes, who has a trail date at Bolton Wanderers pending, may be back in the starting eleven, having recovered from an ankle injury.

He had a quick 20-minute burst against the Blues last weekend and suffered no effects. Ruairi Devlin could also be back in the squad after a long absence.

Daniel Hughes was due to travel to Bolton earlier this week, the visit was shelved due to the unavailability of boss Neil Lennon.

Meanwhile, the Bannsiders will travel to Milltown buoyed by the news that midfielder signed an new contract.

The 30-year-old put pen to paper on a one-year extension to his current deal, which will keep him at the club until at least the summer of 2017.

Manager Oran Kearney is delighted with his latest piece of business. 
He said “Neil has been excellent for us this season. Not only has he scored some fantastic goals for us but his all round play has been first class.

“We got a decent draw against Cliftonville last weekend. It’s always difficult when the league champions come to town, but we matched them.

“It’s a matter of building on that result. We may be in the bottom six in the table, but we still want to win all our remaining matches.”