Mullen calling on Newry to cement place in top flight by conquering the big boys
Darren Mullen has sent out a 'bring on the Big Two' message as the Newry City manager sets his sights on regular clashes with the biggest teams in the country.
Having the might of Linfield and Glentoran visit the Showgrounds seemed light years away not long ago, but now Mullen and his battling troops are preparing to face the Blues and Glens on consecutive Saturdays.
And Mullen's sights are on points rather than plaudits and he won't simply allow his team to roll over.
"Now we are here and a few months into the season the novelty has worn off to an extent," said Mullen ahead of tomorrow's home meeting with David Healy's men. "It is great for the club to be in a position where we are playing these teams on a regular basis. If someone had said we'd be playing Linfield and Glentoran back-to-back, we'd have said that's what we wanted. Now we have to try to win.
"We're at a level now where we want to beat them rather than simply playing host. Now we're playing for points and the incentive for us is to be playing these teams all the time.
"Now that we're in the Premiership we want to become established, and to do that we have to start taking points off the top teams."
On current form, Newry are one of the teams to watch. Only the top two - Ballymena United and Linfield - have taken more points from the last four games.
A 1-0 away win in front of the TV cameras at Coleraine was the high point of that current run, but Mullen is frustrated that his team hasn't taken more points so far.
"Ballymena are beating everyone, but I think even David Jeffrey would admit that we were terrific and deserved something out of the game," he said.
"We were 1-0 up at Cliftonville and before that we could have been 2-0 up at Crusaders but lost 3-0.
"We need to be turning performances into results and we are starting to do that now.
• GLENTORAN have announced the signing of striker Darren Murray on a deal initially until the end of the season.
The forward, who played under Glentoran manager Ronnie McFall with Portadown, will join at the start of January.