Belfast Telegraph

World Cup 2018

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McAlinden urging Carrick stars to prove their desire to the fans

By Alex Mills

Davy McAlinden has challenged his Carrick Rangers side to start giving their fans value for money.

Ailing Carrick haven't won in the Danske Bank Premiership since October 14 and have scored only one goal in their last six league games, meaning McAlinden's boys have plummeted to 11th place in the table.

They did show signs of recovery in the narrow midweek County Antrim Shield semi-final defeat by Crusaders, which prompted the manager to demand another performance of hunger and passion when league leaders Coleraine leave a calling card at the Loughshore Hotel Arena tomorrow.

"It doesn't matter who we play, whether it's Potato Farl Rovers, Real Madrid or Coleraine," said McAlinden. "Every time we go onto the pitch, we have a responsibility to react and carry out our work. We haven't always done that.

"People pay good money to follow clubs all over the country. It's not nice being let down, and that's what we have been doing.

"The supporters deserve better. The players need to show that they want to be here.

"I've questioned them over the last few weeks. The hunger and desire wasn't there. But things were different at Seaview. We had hunger and desire in abundance.

"I'll be looking for the same attitude and commitment that we showed at Seaview. If we do that, we'll not be far away.

"The boys showed they cared for the shirt they had on their back. If you work hard and are committed, then you show the club and supporters that you care.

"I asked for a response following Saturday's poor showing at Dungannon, and they did that magnificently. But we have to keep doing that. I want the supporters to go home from games knowing the players have given everything for the club. When people do that, the results will follow.

"It's nice to appear in cup finals and semi-finals, but ultimately our main aim is to try and sustain our place in the Premiership. I'm still confident we can do that."

McAlinden will have defender Aaron Smyth back from suspension for the Coleraine game.

"Michael McKenna will be back for the first game of the season," he added. "Mikel Suarez would have been involved against the Crues but he wasn't allowed to play against his parent club, while Andy Mooney is carrying an injury that we think won't be cleared up for Saturday.

"Aaron Smyth will be back from suspension, which will be a good boost for us. But we don't complain about injuries, we'll get on with it.

"We had a soft second yellow card against us, which will punish us again which means Mark Clarke misses out, having to sit out a one-game ban.

"There have been fine margins in games and some decisions have gone against us. But decisions are easy to give against the small teams, who don't get the coverage on the radio or television that other clubs get.

"It's maybe easier to give decisions against us."

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