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Ballymena need a bit of luck to get back on track: Jeffrey

Warrenpoint T v Ballymena Utd, Peaky Blinder Irish Cup Sixth Round, Q Radio Arena, Today, 3pm

David Jeffrey

David Jeffrey has seen just about everything in his extraordinary career, but today's Irish Cup clash at Warrenpoint offers him the opportunity to move on from a turbulent few days.

The Co Antrim Shield final defeat to Cliftonville was heartbreaking, and Glentoran's £60,000 bid for striker Adam Lecky was a headache he could have done without.

And just to add salt into the wound, a 2-0 Premiership loss at Crusaders failed to change the mood music.

"That week has been the toughest one in a long time," admitted Jeffrey.

"Bryan (McLaughlin) and I have reflected on a Cup semi-final at The Oval, when we were winning 1-0 against Cliftonville but they came back in the last two minutes and won 2-1, but we were okay as we had won five doubles at that stage and the following year we won another one.

"I remember big Sean Armstrong scoring late on in a Big Two game against us, but the Shield final was the cruellest experience. The Crusaders defeat compounds it, there's no point in saying otherwise, because I thought our players were magnificent. I felt we deserved at least a point but it wasn't to be."

But while the Sky Blues remain in the Irish Cup, they have a shot at European qualification.

Perhaps the painful Shield final experience can give Jeffrey's players even more hunger for this knockout competition.

"The overriding situation is that when you prepare the best you can and don't get over the line, it's difficult to take, but I've told the players I didn't want anyone getting down," added Jeffrey.

"We have managed teams when they go through a hard period and they can not care, they just don't turn up.

"Other than the Glenavon game, which we could have won, we are not getting the results, but you have to keep going and stay up for the challenge.

"That's the only way I know -to keep going and stand up, lead from the front.

"Players must stand up and be counted which we have always done. We will keep supporting and encouraging the players, you just want them to get the bit of fortune they deserve.

"The supporters deserve it too. They were so encouraging against Crusaders and that's helpful."

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