Belfast Telegraph

Jeffrey is keeping our feet firmly on ground, says Millar

Cool head: Leroy Millar won’t look too far ahead in the battle for the title
Cool head: Leroy Millar won’t look too far ahead in the battle for the title

By Alex Mills

Midfielder Leroy Millar insists no one will become carried away at high-flying Ballymena United - because manager David Jeffrey will see that they don't.

Although the Sky Blues are hot on the heels of Linfield at the top of the Danske Bank Premiership table, the irrepressible Jeffrey maintains his boys are punching above their weight.

The big man is a master of the mind games.

The reality is that should United defeat Gary Smyth's Glentoran at the Warden Street Showgrounds today and repeat the feat when Institute leave a calling card on Tuesday night, they'll be only three points behind David Healy's side.

Jeffrey's troops approach the game in the best possible shape, having demolished derby rivals Coleraine seven days ago.

Millar believes it will take another 90 minutes of hard work, determination and hunger against a Glentoran side that still have aspirations of inching into seventh place in the league table, which would earn them a place in the European play-offs.

"We take one game at a time," said the midfielder.

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"We take each game on its own merits. There is no point in looking further down the line.

"It's Glentoran first up, that's our immediate focus.

"They have given us tough games this season, both at The Oval and the Showgrounds, so we'll be taking nothing for granted - the gaffer will make sure there will be no complacency about the place.

"David (Jeffrey) and Bryan (McLoughlin) have been tremendous.

"What they have done so far at Ballymena has been phenomenal. But they ensure everyone remains grounded - they certainly don't let anyone become carried away.

"Glentoran are fighting to get into seventh place in the league, so they'll be giving it a go. Since Gary Smyth and Paul Leeman came in, their results have improved.

"The boy up front, Darren Murray, has been scoring a lot of goals of late, something like seven in his last nine games, so he'll need a bit of watching."

Millar believes the competition for first-team places is the driving force behind United's pursuit of the title.

"We had a great result last week," he added.

"It's not often we beat our local rivals by four goals, but at the end of the day it was only another three points.

"We have picked up again after a little blip, the two defeats by Linfield were hard to take.

"They were tight games. There are very fine margins between the teams, but we took a lot from those games. Our performances have been good and we are sitting second in the table on merit.

"At the start of the season, no one would have predicted that.

"The boss keeps reminding us that we are punching above our weight in this title race, but we must keep doing what we have been doing to see where it takes us. It's a matter of putting in consistent performances from now until the end of the season.

"If we are ever going to go on an unbeaten run, now is the time to do it."

With Ballymena due to host Linfield in the first game after the split, it could well be a title decider.

Millar insists it's a game that is too far down the track to start worrying about.

"After Glentoran, we have Institute on Tuesday night, which will be another difficult game," he added.

"They are also fighting for seventh place.

"Then, we have Warrenpoint Town, which will be another big test. Certainly, if we do manage to win our next three, the Linfield match would potentially be massive - and it will be live on television and that just adds to it even more.

"But our only focus is on the Glentoran game at this moment in time."

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