Harry Fay has insisted that anyone looking at the league table ahead of this weekend’s match between Dungannon Swifts and Cliftonville needs a reality check.
Both sides surprisingly find themselves at the wrong end of the table a month into the new campaign and under pressure to turn things around sooner rather than later.
Cliftonville have failed to collect a league point since winning 5-1 at Ballymena on the opening weekend while Dungannon have also won just once this season.
The early league table does not make pleasant reading for either manager although Fay believes it’s far too early to make any judgements.
“Anyone looking at the league table and coming to conclusions so early in the season is foolish,” he said. “It is a 38 match season and we are only four games into that.
“There is plenty of time to put things right and, while we would want to be higher than we are at the moment, no-one is going to panic just yet.”
While Dungannon have a good record against Cliftonville, they lost 2-1 at Solitude last season and Fay knows they face another tough test this weekend.
“It’s another tough match,” he added. “It’s becoming a familiar phrase but there are no easy games in this league. The table probably shows that because we have played four games and only taken four points.
“We would have wanted more points than that and I think we deserve more points than we have, but it is about results and, although we haven’t played that badly this season, those performances will not be reflected in the league table.”
Fay is seeking a positive response from last weekend’s home defeat against Lisburn Distillery and knows that sorting out his side’s defensive frailties will go a long way towards achieving that.
“In terms of our performances we have looked solid enough but we keep making careless mistakes,” he added.
“We gave a stupid goal away on Saturday and ultimately that was the difference between losing the match and taking a point.
“Had we done the basics then I don’t think Distillery would have scored. They were better than us, but there are days when you are poor and, if you do the basics right, you can still get something out of the game.”
There is positive news with the return of Timmy Adamson ahead of this weekend’s clash, which has been rearranged for Celtic Park due to ongoing work at Solitude.
“We have missed the big man in the last two matches,” added Fay. “One concern is that we have not scored in two of the four games this season, while the goal we scored against Linfield came from the penalty spot.