Top six was secured on Saturday but manager Harry McConkey is not about to rest on his laurels, he wants his side to aim for higher.

The Mallards will now play the other five teams in the top six home and away, starting on Saturday away to HW Welders, and the big target for the Ducks will be to try and force their way into the play off reckoning by getting into the top three.

The Mallards currently sit eight points adrift of Portadown but they will go into the post split fixtures as one of, if not the, in-form teams in the league and McConkey stresses that there is a hunger within the squad to push on.

“We had hoped to make it into the top six and although it didn’t look good a couple of months ago, we have now achieved that.

“This season was about consolidating our position and building for next year, however, we don’t want to sit still, we have to use this as a platform to spring from and we will look to attack third place. We know that won’t be easy but it is a good challenge for us.

“There are senior players within the squad, the likes of Jay, Clarkie, Ross Taheny, who are hungry to go straight back to the Premiership, they don’t want to wait for another season, and we have to tap into that hunger. The lovely thing about last week’s result is that we are still in with a shout and we will be looking to give it a real go,” said McConkey.

And that will start this week with an away game against Welders where a win would lift the Ducks into fifth spot in the table.

“Tillysburn is always a tough place to go. It is a tight pitch and another battling performance is going to be required if we are to pick up the points.

“We were beaten there the last time we went there but we’ll have more firepower available this time and we are in a much better place this time in terms of self confidence.

“We know that they are a team that can score goals but equally they can be vulnerable at the back and it will be up to us to take advantage of that.

“We will certainly need to be better than we were last week,” he said.

McConkey also feels that all the fixtures in the split will be a good test for his side.

“They are all real challenges. You have to play the likes of Larne, Portadown and Carrick twice more but those are challenges that we will relish,” he added.

McConkey is not expecting any more additions to his squad following the signing of Robbie Hume but is delighted that Matty Smyth has committed to the end of the season.

“There has been interest in Matty but I’m very pleased that he has given me his word that he will stay.

“We have lost a few players. Darren Teague has gone back to Strathroy Harps and Warner Mullen has also gone to Strabane. Davy Elliott has also left to join PSNI, he wanted to play first team football and they can offer him that and we wish him well.

“I’m not expecting anybody else to leave. I’m happy with the squad and there is a good bond within it,” stated McConkey.