Belfast Telegraph

Murphy calls for entertaining victories as Swifts home in on improvement

By Adrian Rutherford

Darren Murphy wants Dungannon Swifts to add a touch of flair to their game ahead of this weekend's season opener against Institute.

A new campaign gets under way with a home clash against the Premiership newcomers.

It is the third successive year that Dungannon have faced newly-promoted opposition on the opening day.

And while it may not be the standout game from the first weekend's fixture card, Murphy insists his team will be worth watching this season.

The Dungannon boss placed an emphasis on attacking quality in his summer transfer dealings, and is hoping that is reflected in some stylish performances.

"I don't think we were exciting enough going forward last season," he said.

"The players we have signed this summer have been brought in with the intention of creating more chances and scoring more goals.

"You want to win games but you also have a duty to entertain, and hopefully we can achieve both those ambitions this season."

Among the new faces is former Aston Villa and Portadown midfielder Josh Barton and Abby Sanusi, an attacking midfielder who previously played for Shamrock Rovers.

However, it has been a player already at the club who has caught the eye in pre-season.

Gary Liggett scored an astonishing 20 goals – including four hat-tricks – in eight appearances over the past month.

However, Murphy is cautious about his side's pre-season form.

"Gary has been in good form – as long as the goals don't dry up come August 9," he added.

"We have done well, winning all our games, but I never read too much into pre-season results. For me it's about fitness and match sharpness."

In terms of expectations, Murphy isn't content with mere survival, and is aiming to improve on last season's eighth place finish.

Meanwhile, this will be Institute's first game back in the top division since their relegation in 2010.

And while some expect them to make a quick return to the Championship, Murphy is predicting a difficult game on Saturday.

"They are playing their first game back in the Premiership, so we know they will be up for it," he added.

"It is important our players are in the same mindset. It will be a very difficult game."

Three of Dungannon's first four fixtures are at Stangmore Park.

And after struggling there last season, improving Swifts' home form is a priority for Murphy.

"Our home form was good at the start of last season but tailed off towards the turn of the year," he added.

"It is something we obviously want to improve, because our results away from home were excellent.

"A few more home wins last season would have made a real difference to our league position.

"If we can improve on that this time around, and keep up our good away form, then we should have a very good season."

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