Ballinamallard manager Gavin Dykes said his players paid for their exertions in the games against Crusaders and Coleraine as they suffered a six goal thumping from Linfield at Ferney Park on Saturday.
Dykes felt that there was simply no juice left in the tank of the majority of his players as they entered a third tough game against a side at the top end of the table in an eight day period.
“It wasn’t a lack of effort on Saturday, we just physically couldn’t compete with them and that’s being honest.
“We put in a massive physical effort against Crusaders and Coleraine. You have to remember that we are playing against top sides so we are having to do a lot more running than they are having to do and it came back to hurt us. But it only hurt us on Saturday because of the effort we put in over the last two games,” he stated.
And the Mallards manager knows his players will be hurting after the manner of the defeat in front of their supporters.
“The lads are hurting, they don’t like getting beaten like that, they were humiliated. We lost three points and we took a thumping, that’s the reality,” said Dykes.
Indeed, it gets no easier for Ballinamallard over the next two weeks with a trip to Solitude to take on an in form Cliftonville on Saturday followed by a home game against high flying Glenavon a week later.
“Cliftonville is a difficult place to go, especially as they are playing well and at the minute. They are a very good side and Barry has done a great job. They also score a lot of goals so it is going to be a challenge but we will go up there and put a game plan together to try and get something on the board.”
Dykes also has to deal with a handful of injuries at the minute which is not helping his cause.
“Hutchinson and Curran are definitely out and we’ll have to see how Leddy and Owens are. McGinty has also taken a bit of knock and Ross is also touch and go. We lost four out of our starting eleven the other day and we can’t afford to lose one never mind four. It happen though when you play three games in eight days and with the travelling, it’s tough on players,” commented Dykes.
The Mallards are currently four points adrift of second bottom Warrenpoint and Dykes knows that it is results against those teams at the bottom that will be the key ones for his side in their battle to avoid the drop.
“We are in our own league with Carrick, Ards and Warrenpoint and we have to try and survive in that league and I’m convinced that we will. If we can get to Christmas and not be too far away by that stage and then maybe bring in a couple of bodies we can hopefully kick on,” he stated. 
One positive for Dykes on Saturday was the return to action of captain James McKenna who played the entire 90 minutes.
“We got him through 90 minutes of football which was great and I’ve no doubt he is sore. It was unfair to put him in that situation, I rang him on Saturday and asked did he want to start and he said he did, that’s the type of lad that he is,” Dykes added.