Belfast Telegraph

Why Cathair Friel and Adam Lecky sum up Ballymena United spirit, explains Jeffrey

Up-turn: David Jeffrey’s side have won their last three
Up-turn: David Jeffrey’s side have won their last three

By Alex Mills

Ballymena United boss David Jeffrey admits self-belief is the ingredient to his team's recent resurgence.

The Sky Blues have recovered their swagger - after going 10 games without a win - to pick up nine points from their last three Danske Bank Premiership games.

Jeffrey believes the return of deadly strike duo Adam Lecky and Cathair Friel has been key to United's up-turn in fortunes.

It was Friel who bagged a glorious double last time out - both created by the lanky Lecky - which helped the Boys from the Braid nick a crucial three points against Glenavon.

"We went through that difficult period when we had players unavailable due to injury or suspension, some people didn't understand that," said Jeffrey.

"There is no denying the correlation that, when we have the players back fit and available, they can get results.

"We didn't get overly down when things were not going our way.

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"There were no panic meetings and we were not beating ourselves up.

"We have belief in ourselves.

"What we did do, and I'm talking about the players and the staff, is stick together.

"There was a section of the fans that made their feelings known.

"But we decided, as a group, we'd stick together and work really hard.

"If I was to pick out two players to epitomise that attitude it would be Adam and Cathair, but that's not because of the two goals they created and scored last week.

"They would be the first to admit, by their own standard, it perhaps wasn't their best night on a football pitch (against Glenavon) in terms of their all-round performance.

"They are so modest and humble.

"They showed great bravery because they kept going and going.

"Cathair had a couple of chances he would have usually wrapped up and he was beating himself up over it, but he kept going and going.

"It's because he cares so much, it's the same with Adam. He told me he should have been off with 20 minutes to go because he wasn't happy with his game.

"I had a feeling in my stomach he would produce something - and he didn't let me down.

"I'm so proud of them. They are not 'Billy big time', they are two humble young men.

"I can't praise them high enough, their team play and their contribution was fantastic."

Jeffrey will be demanding another performance of power, pace and passion in today's big derby clash with Coleraine at the Ballycastle Road Showgrounds.

"We know the game against Coleraine is going to be massive," he added.

"They are flying and it will be mightily tough for us.

"They've played some fantastic stuff this season and are in good form.

"But we'll focus on ourselves. We'll stick together, work hard, back up each other - we'll just keep encouraging each other.

"The players are the encouragers.

"They are such a privilege for Bryan (McLoughlin) and I to work with.

"We are so blessed to have the squad we have.

"It's a big day for the supporters and a big day for the players. Derby days are great days.

"We've got a little bit of momentum going at the minute, so we just want to try to keep that going.

"We have an unbelievably tough run of matches coming up, starting today. Then we have Glentoran away and Larne at home.

"We can only focus on one game at a time. We'll go to Coleraine and give it our best shot."

Coleraine

Ballymena Utd

Danske Bank Premiership

The Showgrounds, Today, 3.00pm

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