Belfast Telegraph

Ervin won't allow heads to drop at Showgrounds

By Graham Luney

Ballymena United skipper Jim Ervin maintains there will be no doom and gloom at the Showgrounds despite their opening day 4-1 loss to Crusaders.

The Sky Blues were a frustrated lot on Friday night, especially after failing to turn the screw once Matthew Shevlin slotted in the opener, but Stephen Baxter's side were keen to make an early statement of intent.

United will aim to get their show back on the road at Carrick Rangers tonight but they will expect a real battle against a side determined to show they belong in the Danske Bank Premiership.

"We were a bit frustrated on Friday," admitted Ervin.

"We were well in the game and took the lead but the sending off certainly didn't help and Kyle Owens is adamant he didn't touch him (Paul Heatley).

"If he touches the player it's a red card but I wasn't convinced and Kyle felt the player went down easily.

"This game against Carrick will be a physical test but we have only played one game in a 38-match season and no one is downhearted or downbeat.

"It's about getting points on the board for us and it won't be easy as Carrick lost to Linfield and they will be looking for their first win.

"Our aim is to bring some consistency to the club, something which Ballymena United has struggled to secure.

"We want to finish in the top six and keep that European place.

"The manager (David Jeffrey) has brought in experienced players to help us achieve that goal and you need to have that strength in depth if you want to challenge over a long season.

"If someone gets injured or suspended, players need to be ready when called upon and you need to have competition for places too.

"I don't think of this season in terms of pressure or expectation levels, we just need to be more consistent as when that happens you have a greater chance of success.

• Midfielder Mark Clarke has rejoined Carrick Rangers.

Clarke joined the Taylor's Avenue club under former manager Kieran Harding 12 months ago.

The former Cliftonville man made 17 appearances for the East Antrim club last season, and started in the NI League Cup final defeat to Ballymena United.

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