Belfast Telegraph

Showgrounds pitch problems could cost Ballymena United, admits Lecky

 

Big impact: Ballymena United's Adam Lecky, centre, celebrates one of his seven Premiership goals this season.
Big impact: Ballymena United's Adam Lecky, centre, celebrates one of his seven Premiership goals this season.
Front man: Adam Lecky has been in-form for Ballymena

By Graham Luney

Ballymena United striker Adam Lecky says he hopes problems with the Showgrounds playing surface don't come back to haunt the Sky Blues.

An investigation has been launched by Mid and East Antrim Council after the County Antrim Shield final between Crusaders and Linfield was called off on Tuesday night.

A waterlogged surface resulted in the fifth senior match to be postponed at the council-owned ground this season.

United will finish the campaign with a healthy number of home fixtures but concerns regarding the surface and a fixture backlog persist.

Home advantage is normally welcomed by clubs but it is feared the Sky Blues' pitch has the potential to disrupt the team's momentum. Lecky said: "You just get on with things but we are lined up to have a lot of home fixtures.

"That was thought to be an advantage but the way things have worked out with the pitch it could be to our detriment. As players, we have no control and we just have to stay focused and make the best of the situation."

When the football has been played, Lecky and his team-mates have been rising to the occasion.

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Six points behind league leaders Linfield, with a game in hand, and preparing to face the Blues in next Saturday's BetMcLean League Cup Final, the Braidmen have the wind in their sails and Lecky is thrilled with his progress after returning home from an 18 month spell in Australia.

"To an extent I did have a point to prove," said the former Ballinamallard United ace.

"I only had a few weeks in pre-season and needed to catch the boys who were flying.

"David (Jeffrey) and Bryan (McLoughlin) took a bit of a punt on me because I hadn't been playing in the league for a year and a half.

"With getting more game time, my performances have improved and I've repaid David's and Bryan's faith in me."

Lecky, who has found the net seven times in the Premiership this season, is riding the crest of a wave on Warden Street.

"I'm absolutely loving it," he added. "It's probably the most I've enjoyed football in my career so far. With Ballymena United performing so well you have to appreciate it and it's exciting for the boys.

"I think people are surprised at how quickly the squad has progressed. Everyone felt it was a team that was going places but people have been caught off guard because it's a new look squad and the new players have done well.

"We are competing at the right end of the table and have the League Cup final to look forward to. You want to be challenging at the top of the table and competing in finals.

"The boys are up for it and looking forward to seeing what the rest of the season brings.

"This will be my first major final and it will be a great achievement for me personally if we can win it."

Meanwhile, BBC Northern Ireland will have live television coverage of the Irish Cup quarter-final between Larne and Coleraine on March 1 at Inver Park.

Bannsiders ace Josh Carson has been ruled out for six to eight weeks with ankle ligament damage.

• Colchester United striker Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe has joined Derry City on a six-month loan deal.

The 24-year-old has been training with Derry in recent weeks and the loan move will be Ogedi-Uzokwe's third in quick succession, having previously had spells at non-league sides Bromley and Maldon & Tiptree.

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