Belfast Telegraph

I'll never lose my appetite for success on the biggest stages, insists Jeffrey

 

By Graham Luney

Ballymena United boss David Jeffrey says anyone who thinks he is losing the hunger and desire to win the game's top prizes is making a big mistake.

The Sky Blues were rocked 4-2 by a powerful Crusaders side in the final of the Toals County Antrim Shield this week and it was a harsh lesson for the Warden Street men.

Jeffrey, who won 31 trophies in an astonishing managerial career at Linfield, went on to lift the League Cup with United last season.

Crusaders stopped him winning his 33rd prize but United are also in the BetMcLean League Cup semi-finals where they will face Cliftonville and Irish Cup when they will welcome Ballinamallard United to the Showgrounds in the sixth round.

Linfield are in Ballymena this afternoon aiming to breathe life into their poor title defence but Jeffrey is focused on how his own wounded warriors will hit back.

"My hunger and desire to win has always been like this," said Jeffrey as he reflected on the Shield final loss. "Myself and Bryan McLoughlin put that pressure on ourselves. I just can't do defeat. I can give praise to Crusaders but don't expect me to sit here and accept it.

"We have plenty to play for but there is no better lesson than the pain of defeat. That takes you to the next level because you've got to fear failure.

"This is another challenge and learning step for us. The likes of Kofi Balmer and Matthew Shevlin will take great strides in learning from these situations, they are young and this part of a big learning curve does them no harm."

United are open to offers to loan Caolan Loughran out for the remainder of the season.

Jeffrey said: "Caolan is frustrated at the lack of first-team opportunities. He has been unfortunate with injuries. With all respect to the U20 development league it's not where he should be and so in an effort to get Caolan regular football we have agreed that he can go on loan the rest of the season."

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