United boss wary of wounded Bannsiders

Ballymena United boss David Jeffrey salutes the crowd at Windsor Park
Ballymena United boss David Jeffrey salutes the crowd at Windsor Park

Ballymena United manager David Jeffrey knows Coleraine will not need to be wound-up before they meet at the Showgrounds on Boxing Day.

The Sky Blues ended the Bannsiders hopes and aspirations of winning the League Cup as they saw off their rivals 3-0 at the semi-final stage.

Emotions ran high that night and Coleraine manager Oran Kearney was sent-off in the passion filled atmosphere so Jeffrey knows Coleraine will be up for the battle.

“They’ll be out for revenge, there is no question about that.

“I’ve got to say the League Cup semi-final was absolutely fantastic.

“The atmosphere was brilliant . . . they brought about 1,000 fans, we had 1,500.

“It was a great game and this one will be the same.

“I’m sure they’ll be wanting to turn the table, but we’ll be up for it.We are looking forward to it.

“We’ll not have anyone coming back. Jonathan McMurray has came back a little bit sooner than expected, that’s why his touch is still a little bit off,” he added.

And before the Boxing Day encounter United are sitting pretty in third in the league standings - which is a huge turnaround from the previous seasons and Jeffrey believes the club - as a whole - are moving in the right direction.

“We are improving all the time. I keep saying, baby steps, incremental strides.

“I was delighted with the effort and commitment of the players against Linfield, especially as they had a tough 120 minutes in the League Cup semi final against Coleraine a few days earlier. It was a mammoth effort. They are continuing to learn all the time.

“You are always vulnerable after you have just scored. A number of them hadn’t been to Windsor Park before. Cathair Friel had to ask ‘where is the place’?

“That’s the innocence and naivety of some of them.The biggest compliment for me was the reaction of the Linfield players at the finish. In 17 an a half years as manager, I couldn’t never ever remember doing that against Ballymena.”