Belfast Telegraph

Anderson is sure Mallards will be flying high again

By Keith Bailie

Ballinmallard United boss Whitey Anderson believes last season was only considered a disappointment because of the club's incredible rookie campaign.

In their sophomore year as a Premiership club the Mallards battled valiantly against relegation, eventually finishing in 10th position.

It was all a far cry from their debut year in senior football, when they stormed to the top of the division before eventually finishing fifth.

Anderson joked: "Is there such a thing as third-season syndrome? Whatever it is I'm sure it can't be as bad as second-season syndrome.

"It's a funny thing. People said we had a poor season last year, but if we hadn't finished in the top six the year before they probably would have been congratulating us on avoiding relegation.

"I think we were damned by our own success in many ways.

"We did so well in our first year that we were always going to struggle to live up to that in our second year.

"For this season, I don't want to get drawn into whether our expectations are just to avoid relegation.

"I just want to improve on last season. If we can do that we will avoid relegation and it will give us a platform to build on.

"If you take a look at our results from last season we lost a lot of games by a single goal.

"While our defensive record wasn't too bad we struggled to score goals and that's why we've brought in Anthony Elding and Johnny Lafferty to the club."

Centre-forward Elding is certainly one of the most intriguing Irish League transfers of the summer.

The 32-year-old Englishman has previously played for 16 different clubs including Preston North End, Leeds United, Hungarian side Ferencvaros and Sligo Rovers.

Anderson said: "He is the sort of player who will get people through the gates and create a buzz in the area.

"He's a strong penalty box player who will pose a big threat.

"We've never had a centre-forward of his nature in our team before, so I'm looking forward to seeing him in action."

Elding will be joined at Ferney Park by Strabane man Lafferty.

The playmaker is perhaps best know for playing in the GAA Championship for Tyrone, but he has previously starred for Dergview and Strabane Athletic.

The Mallards start their season on Saturday with a trip to The Showgrounds to play Coleraine.

The two clubs have been inseparable in recent years. In 2013 Ballinamallard topped Coleraine on goal difference, while the Bannsiders finished just three points ahead of the Fermanagh side last year.

Ballinamallard's first home game is against Dungannon Swifts on Wednesday night.

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