Ballinamallard moved up to second place in the Championship table with a convincing victory over fourth placed Dundela.

The Mallards travelled to a ground where they have traditionally struggled, but were quickly in the ascendancy and rarely looked in danger of dropping points as they maintained their pursuit of leaders Portadown.

It is now seven wins from their last nine games for Ballinamallard with struggling PSNI the next visitors to Ferney Park on Saturday, but manager Harry McConkey is quick to dispel any talk of a straightforward victory against a team sitting in the bottom three of the table.

“There were a lot of pluses from the performance against Dundela, but the short history of this season has shown us that we are in no position to get carried away with anything,” he warned.

“We cannot be slipping up against teams like PSNI and I feel that our lads have learnt their lesson. Our worst results have come against the lower teams and we have done extremely well against the teams around us and that is why we are in second place.

“Last time we played them we did extremely well and they went through a bad patch after that, but since then they have recovered and they have a few gems back in their team that were out and to me they are coming out of that dip.

“They scored five goals against Queens and that result will have given them great confidence, but it’s a good thing for us because if they were still on a poor run we might have been in danger of taking this game for granted.”

Portadown are currently five points clear of the Mallards in the table with Loughgall one point behind in third with a game in hand. Loughgall still have the threat of a six point deduction hanging over them as investigations continue into an ineligible player controversy, and although McConkey is refusing to discuss promotion so early in the campaign, he acknowledges that there is a buoyant mood among the players as a result of their good recent form.

“There is a quiet air of confidence,” he said. “We do believe that we can compete against everybody in this league and there is nobody getting carried away but we know if we keep people fit and reduce our suspensions to a minimum then we would love to be right in there at the end of the season.

“We have played all the top teams and there is nobody who really frightens us. The only thing that can frighten us is ourselves. We are not as consistent as we should be but that is something we feel we are growing towards.”

Saturday’s victory over Dundela erased the recent memories of the previous weeks’ last gasp defeat to Ards, and Harry was delighted with how the team bounced back from that disappointment.

“At half time I sensed a real hunger not to let this slip, like we let the match last week slip away,” he said.

“We could not afford to allow them to get a breath and get back into the game with a goal, and sure enough we showed a wonderful attitude second half. The biggest thing for me was the wonderful battling qualities we showed. While it was a 4-0 and that sounds a very convincing result away from home, for me I have had very little joy as a manager on that ground and it is a very difficult place to get a result, but I thought we defended so well when we needed to.

“Our back four was superb and John (Connolly) behind them. Ryan Morris, Matty Smith, Ryan O’Reilly and Ross Taheny. They are all six foot plus and they are all mobile and they have pace, and they used all those attributes on the day, but more importantly they showed great aggression when they needed it.

“The priority for defenders is to be able to defend properly before you can be able to play, and those boys showed me they have that quality which is great. John Edgar covered every blade of grass on the pitch, and Clarkey and Chris Kelly showed a wonderful form of aggression in the midfield battle which was key for us to win because they live off second balls. We dominated that area well and up top we have Jay, Nathan and Rocket posing a threat every time we drove forward.”

Ryan Morris, a member of the back four on Saturday, was substituted with a recurrence of a groin injury and is doubt for this weekend’s match, as are Dwayne McManus and Aaron Arkinson who are both close to returning from injury.