Dungannon bos McAree is upbeat after swift progress
Rodney McAree claims he is seeing steady improvement at Dungannon Swifts - but admits they cannot ease up in the race to avoid relegation.
Since taking the job in October, the Co Tyrone side have moved out of the drop zone and into the relative comfort of ninth place.
They are currently on their best run in almost a year, having won four and drawn the other of their last five games in all competitions.
And McAree is certain real progress is being made.
"I think there have been huge improvements in performances," he said.
"There is a lot more belief and confidence about the squad.
"We have missed a few players recently, but for the others to then step up to the mark shows the belief right through the squad.
"Hopefully there is something there that we can build on and take forward.
"We have to keep working hard and keep the momentum going."
Today Dungannon take on Glenavon in what is always a fiercely contested Mid-Ulster derby.
It will be the sides' second meeting in five days.
And it is Dungannon who hold the upper hand after winning Tuesday night's Mid-Ulster Cup semi-final.
However, McAree's main focus is on league matters.
And he admits three points from this weekend's rematch are even more important.
"The league game has to be the priority," he added.
"Our position is still precarious and we have to focus on getting the points we need to move away from the bottom."
Despite their good form, Dungannon are just three points above the drop zone.
When the sides met in the league in November, Glenavon scored a 93rd minute goal to claim a 2-1 win.
But McAree added: "We hopefully have improved since then.
"Glenavon are a very strong side, a very good side, and will cause us problems.
"Hopefully our game management this time can be a bit better than it was last time."
McAree is continuing his search for defensive reinforcements, with Fra Brennan linked with a return to Stangmore Park.
The centre-back left for Cliftonville during the summer, but has struggled for game time.