Life after Harry Fay begins for Dungannon Swifts this afternoon as they travel to Institute searching for their first victory in nine games.
It is an opportunity for the club to move on from a turbulent week which culminated in the sacking of Fay and his assistant Terry McCrory on Thursday night.
Fitness coach James Slater has been appointed caretaker manager and will take charge of the team for this afternoon’s match at Drumahoe and the midweek fixture at Crusaders.
Meanwhile the search for Fay’s successor will begin early next week with Harry McConkey and current Swifts’ player Darren Murphy among the possible candidates.
For now it is this afternoon’s match which is the priority and Slater believes it is vital that the players put the last few days’ events to one side.
“It has been a sad few days,” he said. “We have underachieved this season and no-one knew that more than myself, Harry Fay and Terry McCrory.
“Harry and Terry have both given huge service to Dungannon Swifts but the football club has to move on and the reality is that we have a massive match this weekend.
“The club is second from bottom of the league table and we really need three points to give us some breathing space and to try and lift the players’ confidence.”
Fay had come under intense pressure in recent weeks, culminating in a dreadful 2-0 home defeat by Bangor in midweek which saw fans turn on chairman Jarlath Faloon after the match.
His side had won just once in 11 league and Setanta Cup games this season and have slid to second from bottom of the table, prompting an emergency board meeting which ended in Fay’s dismissal on Thursday night.
With confidence low and the manager gone, a difficult trip to Institute takes on added pressure but Slater is refusing to make any excuses.
“It shouldn’t be a distraction,” he added. “The players are all professional and they understand football. These things happen and you just have to get on with it.
“We have a very tough match to focus on and the players need to concentrate on putting in a good performance and trying to get a positive result.
“Institute is a tough place to go, especially given that our confidence is so low, and we will need to be at our best to get anything from the fixture.”
Timmy Adamson is a major doubt after coming off against Bangor while Rodney McAree will also be assessed. JP Gallagher and Ryan Mullan should both be fit.