Ferguson issues strong rallying call to Sky Blues
You can't beat a good football cliche, so strap in at Stangmore Park this afternoon where there will be panic buttons being pressed aplenty at the conclusion of the season's first relegation six-pointer.
That may be a slight exaggeration, but there's no denying the nervousness in both the Dungannon Swifts camp and the angst currently engulfing visitors, Ballymena United.
The Sky Blues start to the season has been nothing short of catastrophic, zero points from three games, a whopping 13 goals conceded, players suspended and slapped on the transfer list and the natives calling for the head of manager Glenn Ferguson and the Warden Street board.
Ferguson maintains he won't walk away from the challenge, but admits that he needs his players to stand up and be counted, starting with the chance to leapfrog Darren Murphy's fellow strugglers today.
"We have to try and get the best out of the players we have and to be honest, and I've said it to them, some of those players have let us down, on and off the pitch. It's up to them to show character now," he explained.
"It's all hypothetical in looking ahead and saying we can do this or that, but if we beat Dungannon and we have a good record down there, and then we have Carrick, if you get six points you could probably move above six clubs.
"That's how tight it is at the start of the season. I'd be more concerned if were in this position with 35 games gone. It's a massive game for the three points.
"We'll hopefully have more players available and we have a bit of movement in the transfer market, so if we can get that and get things sorted in training and stop making silly mistakes, we will look forward."
That movement came thanks to an old United boss, Tommy Wright, who helped secure a loan move for his young St Johnstone defender, Gareth Rodger.
Rodger received his international clearance on Thursday and is expected to come into the panel, while young striker Leroy Miller, who has scored five goals in two games for the Reserves, could figure too.
His confidence is certainly high, but whisper a lack of that 'c' word around Ferguson quietly.
"I don't know a footballer in this league who isn't confident at the minute because they all think they're Ronaldo - and that's being totally honest," he said.
"They're all full of confidence. If you see players in training - we try to join in and your head wants to do it, but your feet can't.
"They are so confident, because they wear orange and pink and white boots and think they can do it all, but it's when they go out onto the big stage, confidence is one thing, being able to deliver is another. There are a lot of confident bad players in this league.
"We've had another good, frank discussion after the game and the players are under no illusions as to what we need.
"We have characters in there who will hopefully drag the rest of the players through."