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Back-to-back defeats not an option as Swifts aim high

By Adrian Rutherford

Rodney McAree admits Dungannon Swifts cannot afford a second successive defeat as they chase for a top-six finish. The Swifts are at Carrick Rangers this afternoon aiming to bounce back from last Saturday's loss at Ballymena United.

Eight rounds of fixtures remain until the league splits, and McAree's target is to finish in the top half for the first time since the 2009-10 campaign. But he has warned they cannot afford to drop points against a Carrick side deep in relegation trouble.

"We have got to get back to winning ways," he said. "There are just eight matches until the league splits and, at this stage, we can't afford to be losing back-to-back games. We have to go there with the right attitude and a determination to get the three points.

"It won't be easy - they are fighting for their lives - but we have to raise our game and be ready for the challenge."

Dungannon have beaten Carrick in their two previous league meetings this season. However, the Co Antrim side did win their League Cup quarter-final clash.

McAree is also mindful that the Swifts' 3-1 win in December proved hard work.

"It wasn't as convincing as we would have liked," he said. "Carrick showed a steely determination and this will be difficult."

It will be a much-changed Carrick line-up from the sides' last meeting, with a host of new arrivals already this month.

McAree was at Carrick last Friday night to see them lose to relegation rivals Ballinamallard.

He added: "Aaron Callaghan has signed seven or eight players. I watched against Ballinamallard and learnt a little about them."

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