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Ballymena aren't safe from relegation after dismal run, warns Addis

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Derby mission: Jonny Addis (left) is eyeing victory over fierce rivals Coleraine to avoid getting drawn closer to the bottom

Derby mission: Jonny Addis (left) is eyeing victory over fierce rivals Coleraine to avoid getting drawn closer to the bottom

�INPHO/Declan Roughan

Derby mission: Jonny Addis (left) is eyeing victory over fierce rivals Coleraine to avoid getting drawn closer to the bottom

Jonny Addis admits Ballymena United are in a relegation battle - and has warned their league form has to improve urgently.

The Sky Blues are on a nine-game winless run in the Danske Bank Premiership.

Today, they face Coleraine in a derby which carries great significance at both ends of the table.

The Bannsiders moved within four points of leaders Linfield in midweek to keep their title hopes alive.

But for Ballymena, it is now all about survival and ensuring they are not sucked deeper into the relegation mix.

They sit 10 points above the bottom two, but with key fixtures against the sides around them to come, the picture could still change dramatically.

Addis (27) admits their winless league run - dating back to December 20 - must end soon.

"It has been a difficult run - we haven't won a game this year in the league, so it is difficult," the defender said.

"We just need to keep dusting ourselves down, keep focused and be ready to go again.

"We're in a relegation battle and that is just the reality of it.

"We are nowhere near safe from that point of view, so we need to pick up points soon.

"It can all change very quickly - we have Warrenpoint and Institute both to play twice - so we cannot take anything for granted."

However, it may get worse before it gets better with Coleraine next up this afternoon.

Oran Kearney's side have won their last five in a row in the league, including a 2-1 victory over Glenavon on Tuesday night.

Addis is hoping Ballymena's players can raise their game against their big rivals, but admits it is all about breaking the losing run.

"In some ways the derby could not have come at a better time, in some ways it could not have come at a worse time," he added.

"They are flying, so it will be another really difficult game.

"I don't think it makes much odds who we are playing at the minute.

"We are obviously struggling and we need to find a way to start picking up points, regardless of who we are playing.

"I think the fact it is Coleraine is irrelevant really. The opposition doesn't matter at this stage.

"We have struggled since the turn of the year to pick up any points so if it's Coleraine, bring it on. It doesn't really matter."

Today's game is the first of two big meetings between the sides, who also clash in the Irish Cup semi-finals at the end of the month.

But Addis warned against looking beyond the next match, and added: "We just have to focus on the league.

"We have had the Cup wins and we have failed to build on them. It is now about building some momentum in the league."

Ballymena slumped to 10th in the table after a 1-0 loss at Dungannon on Tuesday night.

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