Belfast Telegraph

Mallards can soar in top flight despite our poor start, says Dykes

By Stuart McKinley

Gavin Dykes has confidently predicted that Ballinamallard United won't fall through the Premiership's trap door - despite taking only one point from their opening four matches.

The Ferney Park boss is bullish in his expectations that he will prolong the Mallards' stay in the top flight into a seventh season - when many expected them to stay no longer than one.

"I'm not stupid, I know that most people have us tipped to go down. It was the same last season and probably the same since Ballinamallard came into the Premiership," said Dykes, who will take his team to face Dungannon Swifts this afternoon.

"I said last year that we would stay up, and I believe that we will stay up again this year with a better squad. We have a new group and they're going to take time to adapt to the way I want us to play."

Dykes added midfield duo Ciaran Martyn and Richard Clarke in the summer and with Ryan Curran the joint top goalscorer in the league so far, the signs are that things will improve, but it's at the back - after conceding 11 goals - that the problems lie.

"I said from the start that going forward we will score goals, we will cause teams problems, but defensively we've got to be better," said Dykes.

"Matthew Smyth is a good addition for us, I think I've one of the best goalkeepers in the league, he's quality. If we can have a wee bit of strength and organisation we'll be a lot better. Ciaran Martyn, Richard Clarke and Jonathan Leddy are new to our group and they will make us stronger."

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