Darren Mullan urges Newry City to take their fighting chance of survival
Danske Bank Premiership: Institute v Newry City (tonight, 7.45pm)
NEWRY City manager Darren Mullan says there can be “no excuses” if his side fail to pick up points in their crucial game against Institute at the Brandywell tonight.
With two games left to go of the Danske Bank Premiership campaign, Newry have given themselves a fighting chance of survival with two recent wins over Ards and Warrenpoint, which leaves them battling with the north Down men for the relegation/promotion play-off spot.
However, Mullan was scathing about the performance in Friday’s defeat to Glentoran and is adamant his players must not take the foot off the gas in their drive for top-flight survival.
“It’s a small enough squad, coming to the end of the season we’ve been light enough but there’ll be no excuses tomorrow night,” Mullan said last night.
“With it down to goal difference, it’s fine margins. Even with two games to go, it can change pretty quick, but all we can do is concentrate on ourselves. We’d two really good wins against Ards and Warrenpoint and then we were very disappointing against Glentoran on Friday night.
“We didn’t start the game at all, it was a poor performance all round. They’re a decent side; in fairness, they’re physical, they’re experienced and we just didn’t match them. We know how important tomorrow night is – it has to be a lot better than it was against Glentoran.”
Mullen accepts that he would’ve taken the offer of still having a chance of survival with two games to go at the start of the season, but he insists they must take maximum points – first against Institute and then against Dungannon Swifts on the last day.
“To still be in it with two games to go is something we would’ve taken at the start of the season,” added Mullan, who will have Dale Montgomery available again for tonight’s match.
“We knew it was going to be difficult, we’re obviously one of the league’s underdogs and rightly so considering how quickly we’ve come up and the resources we’re working with. The priority is just to stay in it by whatever means and hopefully we can get that play-off spot and deal with that.
“If you’re going by Friday night’s game, we didn’t look like scoring. We played really well against Warrenpoint and Ards and deserved to win, we didn’t deserve anything on Friday night.
“Tomorrow night gives us a chance to redeem ourselves. All we can do is concentrate on ourselves. It’ll not be case of checking the Ards’ score during the game, we’ll just focus on what we can do. I’m hoping that, if we can win our last two games, we can get into the play-offs and what I’m taking as guaranteed is that Ards will pick up points, so we need to make sure that we get the six points and that gives us a chance.”
Ards will also be hoping they can pick up a precious three points tonight when they host Dungannon, while newly crowned champions Linfield take on Cliftonville at Windsor Park.