Gerry Flynn is warning his Newry City players that they must shape up in the remaining games of the season or risk being shipped out in the summer.
And with just three members of his first-team squad contracted beyond the end of the current campaign, Flynn will have the opportunity to clear the decks if he feels the need.
The players who want to stay can use the Irish Cup to impress the boss and victory over Loughgall in tonight’s sixth round replay will bring a trip to Coleraine this Saturday, with the winners of that game having the carrot of a semi-final against Linfield dangling in front of them.
“The thing that concerns me most at present is that I am giving out instructions to players and they aren’t being carried out,” said returning boss Flynn.
“If players aren’t going to carry out instructions then they’ll have to go and I’ll bring in players who will do what I ask them to do.
“All but three of the squad are out of contract at the end of the season, but even they aren’t safe and secure.”
Alan Davidson’s equaliser against Loughgall on Saturday — which brought about tonight’s replay — was the first goal that Newry had scored in the four games since Flynn returned to the club after John McDonnell’s reign lasted only six months.
That lack of firepower will need to be addressed if City are to go as far as the last four, but after going down to ten men shortly before half-time at Lakeview Park, just staying in the cup was the priority for Flynn and his men.
“We have Loughgall on our own patch now, the bigger pitch will suit us and with 11 men hopefully we can do the job and get into the quarter-finals,” said Flynn.
Newry have Gavin McDonnell suspended tonight as a consequence of the red card he received on Saturday.