Newry won't park the bus at Windsor

ON THE MARK: Mark Hughes has produced some big goals for Newry City and he is hoping to get back into scoring ways soon Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
By Padraig Kelly

Dankse Bank Premiership: Linfield v Newry City (today, Windsor Park, 3pm)

NEWRY City player Mark Hughes has said that the team will not be parking the bus as they travel to Windsor Park this afternoon hoping to claim their first away points of the season against Linfield.

The discrepancy between Newry's home and away form has been vast with the side losing just once in five games at the Showgrounds while they have collected zero points from a possible 15 on the road.

“We're not going there just to defend, that's just wasting our time,” said Hughes, who has started and finished all 10 league games this season.

“We need to start showing our home form on the road and there's no better place to do that.

“I've had a few hidings there over the years to be fair (with Newry and Warrenpoint Town).

“We went there in the Irish Cup last season and just lost 1-0 though. We played well for large parts but it was probably a fair enough result in the end.”

Newry City's main issue is fairly evident. With just seven league goals to their name, they are the joint lowest scorers in the division alongside basement club Dungannon Swifts.

To put that into context Joe Gormley, whose Cliftonville side are just two spots above City in the table, has four more goals than their entire squad combined.

“We're just lacking that wee bit of quality in front of goal,” admitted Hughes. “That's what's killing us at the moment.

“It's going to be another hard game, but then they all are in this division.

“It's obviously one of the harder places to go and you simply have to take your chances.

“Look at Saturday past in Ballymena, we had our chances that day too. I don't think it was a 3-0 game but they took their chances and we didn't and that's what happens in this division.

“Teams that have been about the league a while seem to have that wee bit of quality and that has shown in some games.

“We're going to have to pick up points away from home at some stage though so why not here?”

While manager McMullan has been left frustrated by his side's finishing, overall he will be happy with their start to the season.

Friday night games at the Showgrounds have been particularly productive and Hughes said that the squad has been buoyed by the large turn-out of local fans for those encounters under lights.

“We're mostly local lads and there seems to be a lot there supporting us, it's been very noticeable.

“It's brilliant for the squad and we've managed to get a few good results to go along with it for the supporters.

“The team spirit is excellent, I'm not just saying that. It's the best that I've seen and the slagging that goes on in the changing room is unreal.

“We're really enjoying it this season and we're looking forward to the Linfield game.

“They have quality right across the pitch and they're probably the best team in the league.

“They'll punish any mistake you make so we just have to be on it from the first minute to the last.”

With Glenavon's fixture with Cliftonville postponed due to Mark Sykes's involvement with the Northern Ireland U21 squad, Linfield have a chance to move back to the top of the table.

David Healy's side are the only unbeaten team left in the division but they still trail the Mourneview men by a point.

They defeated Glentoran 1-0 at the Oval on Monday night and Ronnie McFall's side will be hoping to bounce back when they make the short trip to Seaview to take on Crusaders today.

Back-to-back wins have moved the champions up into third, but they still start the day eight points behind second-placed Linfield.

Warrenpoint Town can put some day light between themselves and the bottom two if they can overcome Ards in Milltown.

They are currently two points ahead of today's opponents and Dungannon Swifts and with the latter not in action, a home win would put Stephen McDonnell's side five points clear of the danger zone.

Also aiming to move further away from the bottom is an Institute side that will meet Ballymena United at the Brandywell.

Coleraine are in action tonight as they face Connah's Quay Nomads in the third round of the Irn-Bru Cup in Wales.

Their opponents currently top the Welsh Premier Division with seven wins in their opening nine games.

League of Ireland sides Sligo Rovers will face Motherwell's U21 side in Scotland while Bohemians will host English outfit Sutton United.

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