Belfast Telegraph

'Crazy' system may hurt Carrick's hopes: Currie

Happy days: Carrick, including Lukasz Adamczyk (centre), celebrate against Portadown
Happy days: Carrick, including Lukasz Adamczyk (centre), celebrate against Portadown
Niall Currie

By Stuart McKinley

Niall Currie has labelled the play-off system that will see his Carrick Rangers team play three massive do-or-die games in just a week as 'crazy'.

After beating Portadown 2-0 in a pre-play-off game on Tuesday, Currie's men will have had just 72 hours to prepare for the first of two battles with Ards to determine who will play in the Premiership next season.

After tonight's first leg, the demanding schedule continues with another three-day turnaround before the teams clash again on Monday for what will be a fourth game in 10 days for Carrick.

Ards, meanwhile, will go into tonight's first leg at Taylors Avenue having had a full week to prepare since their final Premiership game against Warrenpoint Town last Saturday.

"We're the team that is going to have to get ice baths, see what players have knocks and try to rehab them for Friday and freshen everybody up as quickly as we can," said Currie.

"Three games in six or seven days is crazy.

"You've a pre-play-off and then another game three days later and then another three days after that. It's crazy.

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"We'll get everyone as fresh as we can for Friday's game and give it a go."

Carrick will go into the play-off games as underdogs due to their Bluefin Sport Championship status, but as far as form goes they couldn't be going into the battle with Ards in any better shape.

They are unbeaten since going out of the Irish Cup in mid-February and have won eight of their last nine games.

Ards' league position belies their form.

Although they finished second bottom of the Premiership, they have lost just two of their nine games under Warren Feeney and only Glenavon and Glentoran took more points from the final five games of the season.

"I have a great belief in this squad," said Currie.

"We went to Ards earlier in the season in the Irish Cup and won.

"Ards are on a fantastic run, Warren Feeney has really got them going.

"We know it's going to be very, very difficult, but I think we can be competitive with anyone on our day - but we are going to need two days and unfortunately we are going to be very fatigued and very tired come Friday night and Monday, so that could have a bearing."

Carrick lost out in last season's play-off as Newry City caused an upset by claiming a top-flight place for the first time since their reincarnation.

That hangover affected the team in the early games in Currie's reign, losing four of their opening six league games of the season.

After that they lost only four more in the remaining 26 Championship matches and Currie is taking pride in what has already been achieved.

"Whatever happens in these play-offs won't change the fact that it's been an unbelievable season," he said.

"The players have represented the club unbelievably.

"They give everything and we have an honest team, but I don't think we get the credit we deserve because we're a danger.

"We have good assets at the club and some good kids at the club.

"We don't get the plaudits, we stay out of the news and I am fine with that, but I think all the plaudits should go to the players."

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