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David Jeffrey has his eyes on the top six for Ballymena United as he warns of Carrick Rangers’ threat


David Jeffrey has seen his team lose twice already this season to Carrick Rangers

David Jeffrey has seen his team lose twice already this season to Carrick Rangers

INPHO/Presseye/Stephen Hamilton

David Jeffrey has seen his team lose twice already this season to Carrick Rangers

It is the latest instalment of Master v Apprentice as David Jeffrey takes his Ballymena United side to the Loughview Leisure Arena this evening.

And so far this season Stuart King, who played under Jeffrey at Linfield, is very much on top with two wins out of two against the Braidmen.

Carrick have stuttered since their win at Warden Street back in November, but Jeffrey is acutely aware of the threat they possess.

“It’s very simple, here’s the reality. We went down to Carrick, were winning 1-0, they had a man sent off and they beat us with 10 men,” he explained.

“Then Carrick came up here and they beat us, so we haven’t laid a glove on them.

“Stuart King has done a fantastic job, an absolutely brilliant job, so we know how difficult Tuesday night is going to be.

“The game on Tuesday will be extra tough. Carrick will see it as an opportunity to get points on board and the message will be simple for them: ‘listen boys, we’ve beaten Ballymena twice, let’s make it a hat-trick’, so we’ve got to be ready for it.”

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United currently sit in seventh on goal difference from Coleraine with the pair now only five points behind Larne.

That is largely down to a huge tightening up at the back. In the 10 games since that second defeat by Carrick, the Sky Blues have only conceded a miserly six goals in the league.

“I’m very pleased how we are defensively, we’ve worked very hard in training to make us stronger as a unit,” Jeffrey added.

“We’re cutting out individual errors and as a collective we are working very hard, so it’s pleasing.

“We’ve said before that top six is where we really want to be, failing that seventh so we still have a chance of a European play-off and we’re not looking any further than Tuesday night, we’ll take it one game at a time.”

Carrick have announced the signing of two players on loan from Accrington Stanley.

Left-back Matty Carson and midfielder Tom Scully won’t be available tonight, however, as they weren’t registered in time.

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