Newry City will play ugly if that's what gets results - Darren Mullen
Danske Bank Premiership: Newry City v Glenavon (tonight, Newry Showgrounds, 7.45pm)
NEWRY City like to play football, manager Darren Mullen has insisted on this throughout his tenure at the club, but he would still rather win ugly than play pretty football and lose.
City got their first win in the top flight under their belts at home to Dungannon Swifts last Friday, and they stay at the Newry Showgrounds for tonight's visit of Gary Hamilton's Glenavon.
The Lurgan Blues' highly-rated forward Andy Mitchell has been among those praising Newry's style of play, saying earlier this week that “by all accounts, they're a very good footballing side, so it's going to be difficult game”.
While Mullen is pleased with the recognition his team are receiving for sticking to their footballing principles, he has no problem being ruthless when it comes to method either.
“It's nice to get praise for the style of football you commit to playing, but there is no praise in failure,” was the City bosses frank assessment.
“To be honest, give me an ugly win any day over playing brilliantly in defeat. I have my own principles regarding how to play – I'd be a football purist if you like – but you have to recognise when that doesn't work.
“Sometimes, you need to mix it up a bit and employ a plan B. Now, that doesn't mean hoofing the ball aimlessly up the pitch, but you need that alternative, you can't afford to be predictable at this level.”
Last week's victory over the Swifts, secured by two Stephen Hughes penalties, got Newry up and running in the Danske Bank Premiership and Mullen is aware how crucial home victories could prove in this campaign.
“It was great to get that first win under our belts, especially since it was our first home game of the season,” he added.
“We know how hard it is going to be to pick up points on the road this season, so we need to make the Showgrounds a bit of a fortress if we are going to be successful. Overall, we were deserving winners against Dungannon – and that was against a team who won the League Cup last season.
“The people of Newry came out in their numbers as usual to create a good atmosphere and we're going to need that again tonight.”
Glenavon got their season up and running themselves last weekend – following an opening day defeat to Linfield – against Warrenpoint and they have strengthened their squad this week with the addition of left-sided player Ben Doherty on-loan from Derry City.
Mullen knows the scale of the task his side are facing tonight: “Glenavon are going to be a tougher test again, they will be the first team in the top six of the league we have faced,” he said.
“I went to see them beat Warrenpoint last Saturday and I liked what I saw. Andy Mitchell was impressive up front, while Mark Sykes is a dangerous player from midfield.
“But we intend to keep doing what we're good at, there'll be no dramatic change in our style of play. We have to make sure we implement our own game plan on the game.”
However, when it comes down to it, Mullen knows what may need to be done to get a result tonight.
“It would be great to go out and play lovely football tomorrow night and beat Glenavon 3-0, but reality is different. We'll do what we need to do to get a result.”