Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

European joy not in my thoughts, says Ballymena United boss David Jeffrey

By Stuart McKinley

Published 05/04/2016

David Jeffrey
David Jeffrey

David Jeffrey has told his Ballymena United players to forget about the Europa League play-off until they have secured their place in the Danske Bank Premiership.

And Jeffrey is also warning not to expect Glenavon to be nursing an Irish Cup semi-final hangover when they clash at Mourneview Park tonight.

Ballymena have taken five points from three games since Jeffrey took over from Glenn Ferguson and despite the fact that a win would move them to within a point of Dungannon Swifts - who they face on Saturday - in the race for seventh place, Jeffrey is continuing to look over his shoulder until the job of staving off the threat of relegation is complete.

"We are in a relegation battle and the European play-off is not in my thoughts," said Jeffrey.

"We want to get as much as we can out of every game and if we keep winning then we'll see where that takes us.

"To even take our eye slightly off the ball would be so foolish.

"At Linfield when it came to winning titles I always said that until it was mathematically impossible for us to be caught we didn't talk about titles.

"Now it's the same, until we are mathematically safe then we are in a relegation battle and we won't be looking any further than that.

"It's not bluff on my part. Anything we get from this game will be a bonus. The real fight for us starts on Saturday against Dungannon."

Jeffrey finds himself in a very different situation than during his days as Linfield manager.

New colours: David Jeffrey has swapped royal blue for sky blue as he gets to grips with his new surroundings at the Ballymena
New colours: David Jeffrey has swapped royal blue for sky blue as he gets to grips with his new surroundings at the Ballymena
David Jeffrey 1982.
avid Jeffrey Linfield FC Player. 6/11/84. Pacemaker.
David Jeffrey 1987. Pacemaker.
David Jeffrey in 1989.
Jeffrey in '87.
Linfield manager David Jeffrey April 2007.
Linfield manager David Jeffrey and Crusaders manager Stephen Baxter ahead of JJB Sports Irish Cup Final at Windsor Park in May 2012.
Linfield manager David Jeffrey celebrates winning the JJB Sports Irish Cup after defeating Crusaders in the final at Windsor Park in 2012. Pressye.
Linfield manager David Jeffrey celebrates winning the JJB Sports Irish Cup after defeating Crusaders in the final at Windsor Park in 2012.
Linfield manager David Jeffrey celebrates winning the JJB Sports Irish Cup after defeating Crusaders in the final at Windsor Park in 2012. Presseye
Linfield manager David Jeffrey walks up the tunnel with the JJB Sports Irish Cup after defeating Crusaders in the final at Windsor Park in May 2012. PressEye.
Linfield manager David Jeffrey celebrates winning the JJB Sports Irish Cup after defeating Crusaders in the final at Windsor Park in 2012.
David Jeffrey at Seaview in 2012.
Jeffrey after a 4-0 win over Coagh United in 2012.
February 2012.
November 2011.
Linfield v Portadown 2011.
Linfield v Portadown. 2011. Pressye
October 2011. Pressye.
Linfield manager David Jeffrey reads the riot act.
Linfield manager David Jeffrey is congratulated by Portadown counterpart Ronnie McFall in 2010.
Lisburn Distillery v Linfield. 2011. Presseye.
Linfield's manager David Jeffrey celebrates victory over Glenavon during 2011 Carling Premiership game at Mourneview Park.
Linfield manager David Jeffrey during at the City Stadium in Borisov, Belarus ahead of the Champions League second qualifying round second leg game against FC BATE in 2011.
Pre-season friendly Linfield v Rangers at Windsor Park Belfast. 2011 Pressye.
Linfield Football Club Manager David Jeffrey 2011. Presseye
JJB Sports Irish Cup Final - Linfield v Crusaders in 2011. Presseye.
JJB Sports Irish Cup Final - Linfield v Crusaders, 2011. Presseye.
JJB Sports Irish Cup Final - Linfield v Crusaders, 2011. Presseye
John Barnes and David Jeffrey at the Linfield FC 125th Anniversary Dinner - City Hall Belfast 27th May 2011. Presseye.
JJB Sports Irish Cup Final at Windsor Park, 2008. Presseye.
Carnegie Premier League - Crusaders v Linfield, 2008. Presseye
Setanta Sports Cup, Richmond Park 2008. INPHO/Donall Farmer
Setanta Sports Cup, Windsor Park_Linfield v Drogheda United April 2007. Presseye
David Jeffrey, manager of the Irish League Select side, at the announcement of the Irish League squad to play the Conference select in 2006.
UEFA Champions League Q1 - Dinamo Zagreb vs Linfield. 2008.
UEFA Champions League Q1 - Dinamo Zagreb vs Linfield. 2008.
Linfield's David Jeffrey in the dressing room celebrates lifting the JJB Sports Irish Cup and complete a hat-trick of doubles after defeating Coleraine in 2008.
Linfield's coaches Brian McLaughlin and Alfie Wylie celebrate David Jeffrey's 31st trophy success as manager. Linfield beat Crusaders in the County Antrim Shield in 2014. Pacemaker.
Manager David Jeffrey with the manager of the year award and he also picked up Player of the year for his centre half William Murphy in 2007. Pacemaker.
David Jeffrey celebrates the achievement of a triple double in 2008. Pacemaker.
Linfield v Crusaders Irish Cup Final. 2011. Pacemaker.
Linfield's manager David Jeffrey is held high by the fans after clinching the title in 2006. Pacemaker
While his team are out celebrating the championship manager David Jeffrey takes time to reflect on his long season with a puff on his pipe in 2006. Pacemaker
Linfield's Glenn Ferguson and manager David Jeffrey crack the bubbly as they celebrate after clinching the title in 2006.
Jeffrey celebrates a win over Glenavon in 2007. Pacemaker
Linfield manager David Jeffrey relaxes in the boot room with the Irish Cup in 2006. Pacemaker
V for Victory - 2006. Pacemaker.
A Happy Chappie" Linfield manager strides to the changing room with three points in his pocket and a place booked in the CIS quarterfinals in 2006.
Jeffrey holds back the tears after his final match in charge of Linfield in 2014.
Jeffrey holds back the tears after his final match in charge of Linfield in 2014.
Jeffrey holds back the tears after his final match in charge of Linfield. Pacemaker.
Blues boss David Jeffrey waves a farewell to Linfield fans in 2014. Pacemaker.
Jeffrey in his final match in charge of Linfield holds the hands of his god children as he is given a guard of honour in 2014. Pacemaker
New colours: David Jeffrey has swapped royal blue for sky blue as he gets to grips with his new surroundings at the Ballymena

Back then he was targeting league titles, but having taken over at Warden Street at a time when Ballymena were just five points off the bottom of the table he finds himself with a totally new set of circumstances to consider.

"It's very interesting at this end of the table and the major difference for me is in terms of the results that I look for," said Jeffrey.

"Before I would be wanting to know how Cliftonville, Crusaders and Glentoran had got on. Now the matches I am interested in are Ballinamallard United, Carrick Rangers, Dungannon Swifts, Portadown and Warrenpoint and how those affect us."

Glenavon are on a high after their thrilling 4-3 win over Crusaders in Friday night's Irish Cup semi-final.

The Mourneview Park faithful will already be looking forward to - and relishing - the May 7 decider with Linfield and rather than that being the focus, Jeffrey expects Gary Hamilton's men to be buoyed by their victory and motivated to stay in a rich vein of form before the final.

"I watched Glenavon on Friday night and they were very good," said Jeffrey.

"To come back three times takes a great deal of character.

"I already knew Gary Hamilton when I was manager of Linfield, but in my time out of the game I got to know him even better and there is no way that he will let his players start to think about the Irish Cup final.

"They finished third last season, Gary has always said that he wants to improve year-on-year and they will be aiming for second place.

"That will be the target and he will be determined to achieve it and that will make this a massive test for us."

Belfast Telegraph

Your Comments

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph