New Ballinamallard centre back Packie Mailey is well aware that time is not on their side, as they look to haul themselves off the foot of the Premier League table.
The 29 year old joined up with the squad at the start of January and he has made an assured start to his time at the club, with Saturday’s 1-0 loss to Warrenpoint the first time he has tasted defeat since his arrival.
His debut came in the win over Immaculata in the Irish Cup and he followed that with a point against Glentoran, but the experienced defender knows they must start to get wins under their belt very quickly if they are to get themselves out of trouble.
“We have made a lot of signings and if we do come together it will come good, but games are running out,” he acknowledged. 
“No games come easy but with the position we are in we need to stick together and be together as a team and fight for every point that is out there. There is a good squad here and now it’s about putting everything together. One of my qualities is talking and managing things and that is maybe something they have been lacking in that I can bring, some organisation. 
“There is a very good young centre half in Matty Smyth. The Warrenpoint game was my first time playing with Ryan (O’Reilly) and he is top quality as well. The back four now seems to be more settled. You have Michael Kerr and Colm McLaughlin and there is quality there and even on the bench now there are people pushing on, and that was maybe lacking at the start of the season.”
The starting line up against Warrenpoint featured all six of Gavin Dykes’ winter acquisitions, and although they matched their opponents for most of the game, it was a first half goal that decided the outcome in the home side’s favour. 
“It was tough to take,” admitted Packie. 
“There wasn’t much between the sides and a set piece told in the end. We switched off. From a defensive point of view you set out your stall to be hard to beat, and to concede from a set piece is a tough one. 
“It would be different if he had picked it up 20 or 30 yards from goal and put it top bin, but set pieces are your bread and butter and first and foremost its what you should be doing, defending. In the second half we went down to ten but it didn’t really change our mentality. We were 1-0 down and we still had to come out and play. We still had to go out there and get that equaliser but unfortunately it didn’t come.”
Packie brings a wealth of experience to the team. He started playing his youth football with Donegal side Convoy Arsenal, and it was not long before his talent was noticed by Institute who brought him in to their academy.
 From there he made a move across the water to Scotland. 
“I got scouted for Scottish club Hibernian,” he explained. 
“I went over and spent three and a half years there and it didn’t work out. I never played for the first team so I went out on loan to Stenhousemuir and then I was released from my contract. I came home disillusioned. 
“I played Gaelic for a while with Donegal and then Harps came knocking. They are my local club in Donegal so I played there for the guts of seven years. I decided to get a fresh challenge and Gavin rang the phone. I had one or two offers, but I knew Gavin and a couple of the lads up here so I decided to give it a go.”
Packie was straight into the starting line up at the start of January, but feels he is still coming to terms with his return to competitive action after missing the end of Finn Harps season through injury.
 “I’m still finding my feet here but each week now I feel a bit stronger,” he said. “I picked up a hamstring injury at the end of the Irish season so I had been resting for a while and for three months I didn’t kick a ball. 
“The more training and the more games I get hopefully the more I can bed in. It is a good set of lads and they have made me feel welcome, so from that point of view it has been good. They have made it easier for me.”