Belfast Telegraph

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Newry City desperate to taste top flight football again, says Mullen


By Graham Luney

Newry City boss Darren Mullen believes his side have the class and character to get the job done in the Premiership promotion/relegation play-off second leg against Carrick Rangers tonight.

The Championship side battled back from two goals down to win 3-2 in Friday night's opening encounter at The Showgrounds.

Carrick are hungry to preserve their top-flight status and the play-off is finely poised for the Belfast Loughshore Hotel Arena showdown (kick-off 7.45pm).

"There's a lot of excitement and I wouldn't say fear because we are delighted to be involved in this game and we will give it our best shot," said Mullen.

"It's a wonderful opportunity for us to possibly make the Premiership and we have some players who have been there before and they want to taste that again.

"The prize for us is a big one and there's a huge amount of hunger and desire to grab it but we also know Carrick will be very difficult opponents.

"We have given ourselves a chance by fighting back from two goals down in the first leg and if we aren't good enough to finish the job then so be it, but we will give it our all.

"Carrick will be fighting for their lives and I believe we will need to go there and score. If we just sit back we will pay a price and you have to go and impose yourself on the opposition.

"Players will have to win their individual battles and this will be a different type of game on a tighter pitch.

"What was pleasing from our lads in the first leg is that we didn't panic, we dug deep and we may have to do that again to make the Premiership.

"I think it could come down to whoever wants it more on the night and from our perspective, there are no excuses. We have a fully fit squad and we are well prepared for it."

Carrick boss David McAlinden said: "In some quarters the tie is already over but we just have to go again."

Newry are seeking to secure a fourth promotion in five seasons while the Gers won last year's play-off against Institute to preserve their Premiership place.

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