Darren Murphy feeling early tension with Dungannon Swifts as Ballymena United visit Stangmore
Darren Murphy is predicting a tension-filled afternoon when two of the Danske Bank Premiership's struggling sides meet at Stangmore Park tomorrow.
While Dungannon Swifts have made a disappointing start to the new season, for Ballymena United it has been even worse.
They head into the game on the back of three straight defeats in their opening games and with manager Glenn Ferguson under mounting pressure.
Dungannon, meanwhile, will be aiming for a response to last weekend's 5-1 loss at Linfield.
Even at this early stage of the campaign, Murphy admits it is a fixture that neither team can afford to lose.
"I know it's early doors and you can't hit the panic button at this stage, but four games in, it seems Glenn is already coming under pressure," he said.
"Results obviously haven't been good and the derby defeat last weekend won't have helped him either.
"They will look at Dungannon and think it's maybe a must-win game and it's the same for ourselves - and that's where the pressure comes."
It has been a dismal start for the Sky Blues and Ferguson's position is under more scrutiny than at any time since he took the job in December 2011.
A 4-0 opening day defeat at Linfield was followed by a 7-1 home loss to Glenavon.
And last weekend they were beaten 2-0 by derby rivals Coleraine.
Off the field Murphy and Ferguson are close friends after being team mates at both Glenavon and Linfield and as he prepares to set that to one side for 90 minutes, the Dungannon boss admits it is a difficult situation.
Murphy is expecting a tight and tense battle tomorrow.
"It's not good - we have one point from nine, they have none from nine," Murphy added.
"It will be a difficult afternoon for two people who have been friends for a long time.
"I'm sure Glenn will look at it as an opportunity to get up and running and I have to look at it as an opportunity for ourselves as well.
"I'd say it will be a game where both sides will be very, very nervous.
"I expect that there will be a lot of tension in the game."