Crunch time for Ballinamallard, says McConkey
Harry McConkey has admitted Ballinamallard United's clash with Carrick Rangers tonight could be make-or-break for their hopes of avoiding relegation.
The Mallards take on their nearest rivals in their first post-split tussle - the first of three successive home games which could go a long way to determining their fate.
Boss McConkey, also the Northern Ireland junior international manager, admitted: "This game will be a real nail-biter. One thing I have experience of as an international manager is when you go into a tournament, the first game is vital - you have to get something from it.
"For that reason, the preparation has to be fairly intense but it's about getting the balance between not giving the players too much information and giving them the opportunity to express themselves.
"This is different because we're starting this game from a position of being five points behind but that is something I have to wipe from the players' minds.
"I talk about a growth mindset rather than a fixed mindset. When you've only won two games out of 30-odd, you know what the mindset is going to be but then we showed what we can do by drawing with Glenavon and Linfield.
"But the defeat at Ballymena shows that we cannot turn off in any game.
"When a new manager comes in there's sometimes that honeymoon period where a new voice can make a difference, but there has to be quality as well.
"These lads have lost a wee bit of their identity about how they want to play. They have started to play very direct after they had started out playing out from the back earlier in the season.
"I have tried to organise them and set-pieces are always very important in this league."