With ten games to go, points on the board are all that matter to Ballinamallard and manager Gavin Dykes.
A disappointing second half last Friday night saw them slip to defeat to title chasing Coleraine at Ferney Park having gone in 2-2 at half time. The defeat leaves Dykes’ charges four points adrift of Carrick at the foot of the table and it could be make or break for the Mallards over the next couple of weeks with key games coming up away to Dungannon Swifts and at home to Ards as they look to climb off the bottom of the table.
“We have two big games coming up with Dungannon this week and then Ards two weeks later,” said Dykes. “ The Dungannon game is a local derby and we will be going up there and we will be looking to get points on the board. If we can do our business right then we might be off the bottom in three weeks time and that has to be the aim for us.”
The Swifts will be buoyed by their memorable League Cup success last Saturday night and although Dykes is delighted for them, he is determined to return home with the points.
“Fair play to them, I’m delighted for the club and Rodney on their cup success and they really deserved it but we want to beat them on Saturday. Last Saturday was their cup final but this is our cup final. Look, we know that if we perform then we will give Dungannon a game and I would take a 1-0 and would be delighted with it,” he added.
And Dykes is expecting a big response from his players following a poor second half against Coleraine.
“I was annoyed the other night because where we should be strong we were weak. There’s no doubt Eoin Bradley is a decent footballer but I thought our two centre halves would be really up for that challenge but on the night it didn’t go that way.
“I would expect a response from the team and they know this game against Dungannon is a big game. We haven’t had much luck with decisions but we have got to forget about referees, forget about decisions and just go out and win a game,” he said.
To do that though they will have to do something which they haven’t done all season - win away from home.
“We haven’t won away from home so if we can go and do that then it will give everybody a lift. We need top get that monkey off the back and set us up well for the last nine games of the season,” said Dykes.
He also knows that his side are going to have to defend better than they have been doing if they are to achieve that goal.
“The squad we have at the moment, I’m afraid of nobody but we have got to stop conceding goals the way that we do. It’s a team thing, we don’t work hard enough when we don’t have the ball and it’s something we’ve talked about and worked on in training.”
Other than the suspended Davy Kee, Dykes is hoping to have a strong hand to select from on Saturday
“Kee is still suspended this week and O’Flynn is struggling a bit and is a doubt so we will have to wait and see with him but Brush will be back which is great and everybody else will hopefully be alright,” he stated.