Belfast Telegraph

Currie has been the driving force behind Carrick's revival: Surgenor

 

Looking up: Mark Surgenor
Looking up: Mark Surgenor

By Graham Luney

Carrick Rangers captain Mark Surgenor has hailed the man management skills of boss Niall Currie after the club's promotion to the Danske Bank Premiership.

The Amber Army are celebrating after their side came through three play-off games in six days with flying colours.

After seeing off Portadown, the Championship runners-up overcame Ards 3-1 on aggregate to return to the top flight at the first attempt.

"Niall has come in and been a breath of fresh air," said the former Ballymena United ace.

"He's considered to be a character, which he is, but he's not given enough credit for building strong units of people.

"He is a great judge of character and getting that blend of youth and experience right. He has built a strong backroom team and playing squad and I don't think he gets enough credit for that.

"His biggest asset is the ability to manage people, put an arm around someone or have a laugh when it's needed. He's a very good people person.

"Before I played for Niall I didn't give him enough credit for what he has achieved in his career."

Surgenor, who opened the scoring in the 2-1 triumph at the Bangor Fuels Arena on Monday night, considered walking away from football a year ago but his career has been revitalised.

"I was going to wrap up my career at the end of the season as I didn't know if I could find the motivation to play in the Championship," he added.

"I had already signed another year's contract, buying into what Niall is trying to achieve.

"Next season will obviously be more testing and we'll be written off. I can totally understand that, but hopefully, as a Premiership side, we can attract a few good players to strengthen the squad.

"It's a massive achievement. The Portadown game took a lot out of us mentally and physically. There was massive relief when we came through that game and after no rest I thought we were very poor in the first game against Ards. We were much better in the second game and, like all season, we found a way to win big games."

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