Belfast Telegraph

It's the players' fault Ballinamallard are at the bottom and we have to fix it, says Clarke

 

By Graham Luney

Ballinamallard United boss Gavin Dykes may be feeling the heat after the Mallards' poor start to the season, but midfielder Richard Clarke insists the players need to start delivering.

The Fermanagh men are the only Danske Bank Premiership side still searching for their first league win and the basement club face third from bottom Ards at Ferney Park tomorrow.

A badly needed victory would lift Dykes' side level on points with the north Down men but confidence is low and the team must stop leaking goals.

Former Glentoran and Crusaders favourite Clarke knows the stakes are getting higher every week the run continues, but he insists the blame should not be pointed solely at the manager.

"Individually and collectively we haven't been good enough and, while Gavin puts a lot of pressure on himself, the players are not delivering," said Clarke.

"The club and Gavin have everything in place for us to perform and the players don't want for anything. The playing staff are taking responsibility.

"Gavin prepares the team as best he can and we work on formations. The players know their roles but we haven't been carrying them out well enough. It's important we raise our game at Ferney Park."

In these testing times, character should shine through and a win could be the spark that banishes the storm clouds.

"It's a massive game for both teams as we are both at the wrong end of the table," added Clarke. "Winning and losing can become a habit. When things are not falling your way it can be difficult to turn the corner. We need a bit of luck or a first victory.

"We are bottom because we deserve to be, our performances have not been good enough, although we have played well in spells during matches.

"There are a few positives but we need to get that first win and get the monkey off our backs.

"We have not defended well enough as a team. We have conceded a lot of goals and you cannot afford to give teams a head start. When you are struggling at the bottom of the league teams will have a go at you."

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