Ballinamallard maybe safe for another year in the Premiership but manager Gavin Dykes has left his players in no doubt that they won’t be allowed to be simply satisfied with survival in the Premiership next season.

Dykes had just watched his side go down 4-1 at home to Dungannon Swifts on Tuesday night after they had their survival confirmed on Saturday and he says that the mentality of the players has to change and that if it doesn’t then they won’t be at the club.

“We have to look for a lot better than just surviving. We said that if we can survive this year, do better than what we did last year which we have achieved, the next step is then to push on and we have to push on and be away from fighting relegation. We have to be up contending in the top half of the bottom half of the table, that’s where we have to be aiming for next year and then hopefully the following year push on from there. That’s the plan that we have put in place,” he said.

“I can’t have players around me who are just happy fighting relegation and we have to change the mindset of the players. The players are well able to do it, the talent is there but the hunger and desire now has to be there to do it and the mentality has to be right. There is a mentality there at the minute that is ‘we survived, that’s great’ and I know that it is fantastic but we have to look for more and there is no reason why we can’t achieve more. If we can get in the right personnel that we are trying to get, if the the younger lads that are there take on board the experience that they have had this year and build on it next season, then I think we can achieve more. We need players to believe that we can compete and win games and at the moment we are just happy to compete. We have to go and win football matches.”

Dykes will look to strengthen his squad in the coming months as he gets ready for next season and he will look to bring some experience in to go along with the young talent that he has at the club.

“We need to bring in a few people who have been around the block a bit to blend in with the young players that we have and we need to keep our experienced players on board.”

And the manager says that one of his first jobs will be to try and convince captain James McKenna and Shane McCabe to stay on for another season at Ferney Park.

“The big job at the minute is to try and get James McKenna back on the pitch and to try and keep Shane McCabe at the club.

I think James will stay on and I’m going to do everything in my power to keep McCabe. He has been excellent for me this year and I think he is a winner. He doesn’t enjoy struggling around the bottom of the table so hopefully he can stay on board because he is going to be vital to what we are trying to do.”

The Mallards have two games left in their season starting with a home game against Ards on Friday night sand Dykes is keen for a response from his players following Tuesday night’s poor display.

The manager gave a number of players a chance against Dungannon and says some players are playing for their future at the club between now and the end of the season.

“I told them at the start of the Dungannon game that there is three games for certain people to see if they are going to be staying here or not,” he said.

Dykes wants to finish the season with two wins but he also wants to see what players are up to the task for next season.

“I will put out a decent side in the last two games because we want to win them but I also have to have a look and see where we are and I will want a response from Tuesday night.

“I spoke to the players for a long time after the game and I said that they have to grow up and this is about mentalities and about being winners. If you are just happy enough to turn up here and say that you are playing in the Premiership that isn’t good enough,” he commented.