Carrick need to build momentum and climb table, says McAlinden
The busy winter programme could make or break the season for many clubs and, while the title chasers know a slip-up can be costly, at the wrong end of the table teams can sink into deeper trouble or give themselves a real chance of climbing to safety.
Carrick Rangers, with only two wins from their 17 league matches so far, need to find their shooting boots as their 11 goals scored is the lowest tally in the top flight.
Their next opponents, Ballymena United - at the Showgrounds tomorrow - have only lost one of their last nine matches and striker Johnny McMurray has shaken off his injury woe to begin terrorising defences again.
"Ballymena United have picked up their form and Johnny McMurray has come in and made a difference for them," admitted Carrick boss David McAlinden.
"They did so well last season that there was expectation they could maintain that but it was going to be difficult.
"It's another difficult game for us. Anything that can swing momentum the other way is what we are looking for, whether it's a cup game or league game.
"Hopefully we can go into the Irish Cup game against Glenavon (on January 6) in good form as we have important league games coming up that will have a big bearing on our season.
"We want to pick up points in the league and go into the Irish Cup game on a high," added McAlinden.