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Survival can be start of a long journey for us: Gray

By Stuart McKinley

Published 23/04/2016

Looking up: Barry Gray has big hopes
Looking up: Barry Gray has big hopes

Barry Gray believes that Premiership survival can change the fortunes of Warrenpoint Town - if he can get players to go the distance for him.

Gray has faced difficulties in strengthening his squad at Milltown due to the travelling involved for players who aren't from the local area.

He did manage to net Cliftonville pair Martin Murray and Johnny McMurray on loan and if they can beat the drop over the next couple of weeks - either by finishing 10th or by winning a play-off - Gray hopes that the distance to the County Down town is a barrier that can be overcome.

"It's a mental difficulty. The perception for most players is that Warrenpoint is somewhere near Dublin - or maybe further away depending on who you talk to," said Gray, who will lead his team into battle with Portadown today before facing Dungannon Swifts next Saturday.

"Belfast boys that have signed initially were difficult, but with groups, if you can get one over the line the second and third is a bit easier to speak to and that has become a bit more straightforward for us.

"They can speak to someone who is doing the travelling and we've boys coming from Portadown, where it takes 45 minutes to get to Warrenpoint, and boys coming from Belfast it takes 40, yet it's further away.

"It's not that they have to get a plane in, but there is a mental thing that it's further than it actually is."

Warrenpoint are just a point above Carrick Rangers at the bottom of the table and they could move clear of automatic relegation today if they beat Portadown and Gary Haveron's side lose at Dungannon.

"We thought that it would be different this year," said Gray, whose team survived in a play-off last season.

"We'd hoped we would be in a stronger position to take ourselves out of immediate danger."

Belfast Telegraph

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