Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Newry’s future rests on staying up: Hagan

Conor Hagan fears for the future of Newry City if they fail to claw themselves away from the Carling Premiership trap-door.

The midfielder, however, believes that the border club not only have the experience and quality to see off Donegal Celtic in tonight’s relegation showdown at the Showgrounds, but that victory will play a part in securing top flight status for another year.

DC are two points ahead of Newry, at present, with five games to go and a change in promotion criteria means there is unlikely to be an escape for whoever finishes bottom this season.

“This is the biggest game of the season for us and there’s no doubt it’s a must-win,” said Hagan.

“John Convery played in the Championship with Portadown and he’s told us it’s not a nice place to be.

“When I signed the target was a place in the top six — that’s how the club was sold to me.

“Off the pitch there is a lot of work going on with plans to develop the ground and the youth set up is impressive.

“All that could be set back if we go down.”

The Newry squad is full of players who have won major prizes elsewhere earlier in their careers.

As well as Hagan, who won a host of honours at Linfield, captain John Convery and Tommy McCallion have large medal collections and the likes of Francis Murphy and David Munster have had long careers in the top flight.

“The squad is strong and experienced and we’ve played good football all season,” continued Hagan.

“We’ve just struggled for someone to put the ball in the net, although since Pat McGibbon came in as manager a few weeks ago we’ve improved all over the pitch — including the final third.”