Warrenpoint homing in on victory after setback
BARRY Gray has revealed that the disappointment of having their homecoming party ruined has only served to increase the hunger in his Warrenpoint Town players.
He only hopes that it's not for Christmas pudding.
And after the frustration of having Friday night's match against Glenavon abandoned due to a floodlight failure, Gray and his troops are more determined than ever to give their small band of supporters some Christmas cheer with Boxing Day victory against Ards.
"What was all the more disappointing for us is that we were 1-0 up in the game and playing well," said Gray.
"The players looked hungry on Friday night, but I think there is an extra hunger in them now to mark our first Premiership game at Milltown with a win.
"This is a big game for us in terms of looking for a first home win and it's also our first Boxing Day match in the Premiership. Needless to say we would love to record a victory."
The match was given the go-ahead on Monday after Warrenpoint officials confirmed that the faulty light was in full working order.
"The really frustrating thing is that the electricians were at the ground all day on Monday and they couldn't find any fault with the light or the wiring," revealed Gray.
"It had been on all last week while the work was being finished and we were training – six hours a day with no problems.
"We're told that the problem was caused by high winds in the area on Friday night."
The incentive for Gray and his players isn't just to record a history-making win.
With Warrenpoint just three points better off than fellow top-flight newcomers Ards at the foot of the table they see this game as an opportunity to increase the pressure in the relegation battle.
And a win for the County Down side, coupled with a defeat for Coleraine, would see them move up to 10th in the table.
"We want to put some distance between ourselves and Ards at the bottom and this is a great opportunity for us to do that," said Gray.
"If we can win this game we also have the match in hand against Glenavon and if we could get a win in that one too it would give us some breathing space, but we have to perform to get the results.
"We had one win each in our matches in the Championship last season. That suggests that there isn't much between us, although the scenario now is different for both of us.
"Ards will be thinking that this is their chance to close the gap on us, so there is a lot to play for and they are talking about getting some players in to strengthen their squad in January."
Gray also revealed that he has three new faces lined up to come into his squad in January – although the names of the trio of players are a closely guarded secret.
"We have had some players who have left the club since the start of the season and we also have a better understanding now of what we need in certain areas to allow us to compete," said Gray.
"The players that I have secured will give us a boost and add some more depth to the squad."