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Confident Carrick are now on the rise: Callaghan

By David Mason

Aaron Callaghan believes the only way is up for the fast-improving Carrick Rangers.

Although the east Antrim boys are still hovering around the relegation zone, the big Dubliner insists he has seen enough in his two months in charge to suggest they can climb the Danske Bank Premiership table.

They may be coming off the back of a disappointing 3-0 defeat by Linfield, but Callaghan today takes his boys down the M1 to face Dungannon Swifts at Stangmore Park, oozing with confidence.

"We are making progress, so that's a big positive," said the former Crusaders defender. "When I took over, we were seven points behind Ballinamallard United and seven ahead of Portadown, who were rock bottom.

"So we have certainly addressed that. We are now level with Ballinamallard and we have pulled further away from Portadown.

"Since I've come in, the boys have responded. Sometimes results like last week can be a bit of a downer. However, it was no disgrace to lose to Linfield at Windsor Park.

"I think it's the manner of how you lose is the upsetting thing - we conceded some sloppy goals. We defended poorly and Linfield issued the ultimate punishment. Once you concede an early goal at Windsor Park, it's always going to be uphill."

Callaghan admits every point must now be a prisoner, especially against teams in the bottom half of the table.

"We'll be approaching this just like any other game," he said. "There are no easy games in this league. If you don't prepare right and put a shift in, it's always going to be a difficult afternoon.

"People may say our league position will not be determined by what happens against the top teams. That could have applied to our game the previous week, but we beat Coleraine.

"We have to adopt an attitude of wanting to win every game. But the important thing is, we must learn from our defeats - it will help us going forward.

"I keep saying to the boys that our short-term goal is to claw back the team above us in the table. It's been difficult, but we have managed to achieve that. Our next target is moving ahead of Ballinamallard."

Callaghan's squad will be beefed up by the return of on-loan Linfield trio Adam Salley, TJ Murray and Seanna Foster.

"We'll have a few bodies back," added Callaghan. "I gave young Sam Green his debut, and I though he was absolutely great up front - he is only 17."

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