Belfast Telegraph

David Jeffrey won't let Braidmen take Warrenpoint lightly

By Billy Weir

David Jeffrey has warned Ballymena United not to take anything for granted in today's visit to Warrenpoint Town. The Mournemen may be struggling in the lower reaches of the Danske Bank Premiership table but traditionally the Braidmen have found life difficult down at Milltown.

After their dreadful start, the Sky Blues have won two games on the bounce - against Knockbreda in the League Cup and last week's defeat of Cliftonville in the league, both achieved with clean sheets, a far cry from the goal blitzes that blighted their earlier outings.

"We've had the most difficult start because every single week you're facing a team that can beat you and it's that tight, it's very, very tough," admitted Jeffrey.

"All I have to do is remind the players of the League Cup game that we had at Warrenpoint last year and we got through but I can tell you now it wouldn't have been an injustice had Warrenpoint progressed because they were a division below but did they ever make it hard."

There is the added ingredient of the master taking on the apprentice with Jeffrey locking horns with Matthew Tipton, a man he knows well from their time together at Linfield and Ballymena.

"Matthew Tipton knows me, I worked with him at Linfield and obviously here at Ballymena," added Jeffrey.

"We've had them watched a couple of times and the reports back have been most impressive on all occasions, so certainly going down to Warrenpoint is not going to be easy.

"It's not a matter of thinking, 'We've reached the heights against Cliftonville and next week will be straightforward' - an absolute load of tripe, a load of rubbish. I can tell you that it will be desperately, desperately tough."

Johnny Flynn, who excelled in last week's win over Cliftonville, echoes his manager's sentiments of the task facing United.

"They're a newly promoted team and full of confidence but they haven't started as well as they should have but I work with one of their lads and he says they've been playing really well and like ourselves haven't been getting the results," he said.

Who will play alongside Flynn, if selected, will depend on the availability of Kyle Owens, who limped off with a calf injury in last week's win.

Ironically, his departure allowed Emmet Friars to enter the fray and the much-travelled defender popped up with the all-important touch to flick home the winner against the Reds.

Friars is itching for more action and has set his eyes on a starting place.

"That's always been the target, to make the job as hard for the boss as I can," he explained.

"There's two great centre-halves in there at the minute, who have been playing really well, so there's not much I can do other than when I get my chance to play well and work hard in training and to be fair I've been doing that."

Former Warrenpoint striker Johnny McMurray is definitely out, with his groin issue meaning it could be another three weeks before he is ready to return to action.

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