Ballinamallard manager Harry McConkey is refusing to get carried away despite his team putting together a run of six league games without defeat.

At the end of October the Mallards had managed just one point from their previous eight games and looked to be cut adrift at the foot of the Championship. Since then they have won four and drawn two and moved up to ninth in the table.

Some of the more optimistic supporters are still harbouring hopes of making it into the top half of the league before the split takes place. That would mean Ballinamallard overhauling a seven point gap over the course of the next five matches, but the manager refuses to look that far ahead.

“We are not getting carried away,” he said. “I know the fragility of the league and on any given day anyone can beat anyone else and we are seeing that. All that I am pleased about is that we have got a little bit of momentum and it gives us a bit of self-belief. It is just the next three points I am looking at. You look at the first step and don’t worry about the top step of the stairs. All I know is that we have momentum and we are going in the right direction. My priority has been to protect the club’s status in this league and we can look to the future after that. At the moment there is too much hard work to be done in the next ninety minutes to project anything.”

Ballinamallard’s latest success was a 3-0 defeat of PSNI. The Mallards dominated the game and although it was a deserved victory the manager was still looking for more from his players. “We have set ourselves a standard now, and I was probably a wee bit disappointed in some of our play,” he revealed. “Yet again we made some basic errors and gave the ball away needlessly, but overall I thought our structure was good. I thought our front three was excellent in terms of pressing them and keeping them from overloading on our midfield. After twenty minutes we hadn’t had a shot on target apart from one effort from Josh, and we weren’t really testing their goalkeeper. Then we got our goal and I was delighted with that breakthrough because I knew that would be a psychological boost for us. The players knew at half time that if they stopped making the silly individual errors and stopped giving the ball away needlessly at times then we had it in our locker to beat this team, and I’m delighted that they got their goals and finished it off.”

With only three goals conceded in their last six matches the Mallards defence has been the base on which they have built their revival. The manager has put that down in part to the back five getting to know each other and playing as a collective unit, but he reckons one of the main reasons is the influence of new goalkeeper John Connolly. “John is undoubtedly one of my best signings,” said Harry. “His distribution, his talking and his decision making is of a very high standard. He is 41 years of age and still has a great love and passion for the game. He has become even more vocal and it resonates through the defence. He can go under the radar because he is not shot stopping, but he contributes so much more than that. He is very much someone who can contribute to the play. He has a very high percentage of success in his distribution and he is great the way he gets us up the park in wide areas with good possession.”

The one set back on Tuesday evening was the injuries picked up by key players. Darragh McBrien suffered what looks like a significant hamstring injury. McCartney and Michael Glynn had to be withdrawn and Dwayne McManus was injured in the warm up before the game. All are likely to miss out on Saturday’s home game against Loughgall but the manager is confident others can step up. “I’m disappointed because these are players that we are developing, but we have players who are hungry to come in,” he said. “We have got to lick our wounds and look at what we have got. The main thing is to keep our back five in place and continue to build that understanding, and hopefully

we can build around that. Loughgall is another huge game and I know the quality in that team. They have settled down after a bit of a shaky start and it will be a real battle.