Ballinamallard manager Gavin Dykes is hoping to build on their good recent home form when they host title chasing Coleraine at Ferney Park on Friday night.
The Mallards defeated Cliftonville in their last home game and drew with Glentoran in the game prior to that, one they should have won, and although Dykes acknowledges that his side face a quality outfit on Friday night, he wants to continue their good home run.
“We’ve done well at home recently, we beat Cliftonville, we drew with Glentoran and we won in the cup in our last three home game. We are making it difficult for teams who are coming to Ferney Park and we want to continue that. We are very aware that we are playing a very good side on Friday night who are chasing the title and have lots of quality all over the pitch but hopefully we can have a go.
“It is going to be difficult as they have firepower all over the place with Bradley, Dooley, Lyons and all these players but that’s why they are challenging at the top of the table and the challenge for us is to go and compete.
“We have to pick up points and in fairness, performances have been a lot better and everybody has stepped up to the mark. We are scoring goals which has helped us and we have to keep that up and then try and defend a bit better,” stated Dykes.
Dykes will be without the suspended Richard Brush and Davy Kee for the game and has a decision to make on who will fill the void left by Brush between the posts.
“Harry Clarke and Josh Brownlee will challenge for the goalkeeper’s jersey and we will decide on which one comes in. I could have gone and signed a goalkeeper but that would have been unfair on the lads who have been training with us and they are both good goalkeepers,” he added.
The suspensions came following the duos sending off in the controversial defeat to Glentoran at the Oval last Tuesday night and it is a loss that still rankles with Dykes who feels his side have been on the wrong end of decisions throughout the season.
“We’ve had too many wrong decisions go against us this year and people say that it evens out over the year well it hasn’t evened out for us yet so maybe it will even out over the last 11 games.
“That game was disappointing because the sending off of Brush changed the whole game, we were very comfortable and I thought we would have won by two or three,” he said.
The Ducks boss is hoping for a similar type of atmosphere at Ferney Park on Friday night as there was for the Friday night win over Cliftonville lately.
“The Friday night we played Cliftonville there was a great atmosphere in the ground and it really helps the players. Night games are a bit different anyway and we have a fairly decent record on Friday nights so hopefully that will continue,” said Dykes.
And Dykes says there remains a positive mood in the camp that the Mallards will battle their way off the bottom.
“It is difficult, things like last Tuesday night leave you thinking the world is against you but there is a hunger and belief in the squad. We have had to stay very positive all through this which we have and I have total belief in the players we have and I’ve total belief in the staff and how hard they work.  
“We know we need to get results and get off the bottom of the table and the only way we are going to do that is by winning football matches,” he said.
Dykes also confirmed that summer signing Ciaran Marytn has retired from the game.
“Ciaran’s a great lad but wear and tear on the body has caught up with him. He is a great professional, one of the best I’ve worked with and we wish him well,” said Dykes.