Sitting with one point on the board after five games most managers would not be looking forward to back to back games against last season’s top two with the Mallards hosting Crusaders this Saturday before travelling to Windsor Park to take on champions Linfield seven days later.

However, Ballinamallard manager Gavin Dykes believes that these are good games for his side and he is looking forward to the challenge.

“I think that these are two good games for us. People might think that’s strange and they are games that nobody will give us a chance in but hopefully we can get a performance.

“We got half of a performance the other day against Dungannon but if you compare where we are with when we played Carrick then it was night and day.

“I couldn’t fault anybody for lack of effort or enthusiasm on Saturday and I’ve no doubt that we will get better,” said Dykes.

Crusaders, as always, will provide a physical test at Ferney Park on Saturday but Dykes believes that the Mallards have the players to deal with that threat.

“It will be physical but physicality wise, I think we have got a bit bigger than last season.

“We know what Crusaders will do and they are very good at it. They will play direct, they live of second balls but hopefully we can deal with it and work on getting ourselves into better positions up the pitch. We know it is going to be tough but I’m looking forward to it,” he added.

The Mallards main problem at present is that they are lacking a creative spark in the final third and Dykes says that it is something they are working on improving.

“Defensively we were pretty good on Saturday which was a plus but the down side was attacking wise we didn’t really offer anything and that has been an issue for us this year. We haven’t been creating enough and it is something that we will have a look at and address.

“We have a good platform as we have a goalkeeper and a back four that is decent. We now need to get the likes of the McGintys, the Currans, the Martyns and Niall Owens to try and go and be more creative.

“There will be no panic, I’m confident that we have the players and I’ve no doubt that we will start to move in the right direction,” he stated.

The Mallards lost Stuart Hutchinson to a hamstring injury inside the opening ten minutes on Saturday and he will miss the clash with the Crues but Dykes stresses that it opens the door for somebody else to come in and impress.

“Hutchy twigged his hamstring so he will be out for a week or two which is not ideal but we have a good enough squad now and we will be able to handle a couple of injuries and it is up to the person who comes in to take their chance,” he said.

Dykes also added to his squad last week with Gary Armstrong returning to the club on a permanent deal while defender Davy Elliott has joined Queens on loan until January.

“We have brought Gary Armstrong back and going forward he will give me options. We only seen the best of Gary towards the end of last season and we are going to give him time to get him up to speed. With regard Davy Elliott, he had missed pre-season and we felt it was better for him to go and get games and then come back in January. Davy is a player who I think has a big future at Ballinamallard.”