Ballinamallard can shock big boys, says Rouse
Alvin Rouse is confident Ballinamallard United can avoid the drop — and has tipped the Premiership newcomers to surprise people.
They have waited a long time to see top flight football in Fermanagh, but if the pundits are to be believed then Ballinamallard's adventure will be a short one.
Whitey Anderson’s side are big favourites to drop straight back into the Championship come the end of the season, but goalkeeper Rouse, who has signed from Monaghan United, believes they have what it takes to compete among the best teams in the land.
“Everyone is thinking that because Ballinamallard have just come up, that they are going to go straight back down again,” he said.
“People expect us to get relegated, but our chances are good and I think we can surprise people.”
Rouse will be up against his former side as Ballinamallard kick off their debut campaign in the Premiership against Dungannon Swifts on Saturday.
The match is scheduled to take place at Ballinamallard’s Ferney Park home, but that is subject to an Irish FA inspection today and could yet be switched to Stangmore Park.
The Swifts are an established force, preparing for their 10th successive season in the top flight, but head coach Darren Murphy knows what it means to the Fermanagh men to play their first match as a Premiership club.
“When you look at the two clubs, we are very similar,” he said.
“We have both come from the same background and while Ballinamallard have a small support like ourselves, they have a hard-working committee.
“We know how proud it will be for Ballinamallard to kick off in the Premiership, because we did it 10 years ago ourselves.”