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Mallards can still hit heights in promotion race: McConkey



Confident: Harry McConkey feels his side will improve

Confident: Harry McConkey feels his side will improve

�INPHO/Declan Roghan

Confident: Harry McConkey feels his side will improve

Ballinamallard United boss Harry McConkey knows his side must quickly find their form in the race for promotion.

Last month the Fermanagh outfit were closing in on top spot in the Championship, but the Mallards now enter today's fixture back in third with Newry City closing in behind them.

While McConkey's side have performed well in the Irish Cup, becoming the only non-top flight side to reach the quarter-finals, league results of late have been disappointing.

Last weekend they were beaten 1-0 at fourth placed Newry, now just seven points adrift of the Ferney Park club with a game in hand.

Prior to that, the Mallards drew with Ards and Portadown when they should have won both games, and lost 2-1 at home to Loughgall.

Since then Loughgall have jumped above Ballinamallard into second in the division, while the table topping Ports have moved eight points clear of the Lakelanders.

McConkey appreciates from here on in Ballinamallard need to put wins on the board, starting away to bottom club Knockbreda this afternoon.

"We know we have to get momentum again and we need to do that soon. I feel that we have another notch to go in terms of level of performance," says McConkey.

"We are obviously delighted to progress in the Cup but we need to collect points in the league now.

"You have to work so hard in every game in this league whether that is grinding or playing at your best. It's a tough league."

Having pulled clear of the rest, boss Matthew Tipton will want Portadown to kick on and sprint to the finish. They will fancy themselves against Queen's at Shamrock Park this afternoon.

Loughgall, seven points behind the Ports, have enjoyed a fine season under Dean Smith and won't want to stop now.

They take on Gary Smyth's H&W Welders, while improving Newry travel to second bottom Dergview, capable of pulling out a shock result on their day.

Elsewhere in the Championship, Dundela host Ards and Ballyclare Comrades visit PSNI.

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