Belfast Telegraph

Callaghan is delighted to see his Carrick boys making strides

By David Mason

Aaron Callaghan dismisses the suggestion that today's clash with basement side Portadown is a six-pointer for both clubs.

Even though a 10-point gap separates the teams in the Danske Bank Premiership, the Carrick Rangers chief insists it's just another game.

Carrick approach the match in the best possible shape, having claimed a 2-0 League Cup success against Dungannon Swifts.

But when Vinny Arkins brings his ailing Ports - they have been deducted a total of 15 points following improper payment allegations and registration issues - to the Loughshore Hotel Arena, Callaghan know his boys are in for another battle.

"It's a big game, but it's still only three points," said the Dubliner. "We know Portadown are a good side and have been punished for off-pitch matters.

"But we have improved. We are becoming more difficult to beat and our fitness is improving. If we can reel in the teams ahead of us before the transfer window, I'll be well pleased."

Callaghan is now in the job just over four weeks, but has been encouraged by the response of his players

He said: "I knew it was going to be difficult. The club had lost eight games in a row, confidence was low. Everyone was tipping them for relegation.

"There is no doubt that it is the hardest task I've had as a manager, but it's one that I'm confident I can turn around. It will not be easy, but we are improving."

Callaghan is hoping to have a number of his first team squad available again after missing out in midweek. He added: "Tiernan McNicholl and Adam Salley will come back, while we are hoping that Martin Murrray will have recovered from injury.

"The board have given me assurances that I'll be able to boost the squad when the transfer window opens in January.

"I'll obviously have to do a bit of wheeling and dealing as all clubs do, it doesn't matter whether you are at the top, middle or bottom of the table."

Belfast Telegraph

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