Belfast Telegraph

Newry City won't wilt in heat of relegation battle: Boyle

High belief: John Boyle doesn’t doubt Newry’s character
High belief: John Boyle doesn’t doubt Newry’s character

By Graham Luney

Defender John Boyle is confident Newry City's players can handle the heat of an intense relegation scrap this week.

It's crunch time in the survival fight as Ards and Newry battle to avoid dropping into the Championship.

Ards currently occupy the play-off spot but both sides have the same number of points with two games remaining, while the north Down club's goal difference is only two better than their rivals.

The tension hits a new peak this week with Newry visiting Institute tonight and welcoming Dungannon Swifts to the Showgrounds on Saturday.

Ards are at home to Dungannon tonight before visiting Warrenpoint Town at the weekend.

Who will handle the pressure better, at a time when one slip could seal their fate?

"It's good for the neutral but not so much for everyone involved," admitted Boyle.

"I think there is still plenty of belief. Performances, in general, have been good. One or two haven't been good but the picture has changed at the bottom quite a bit. We thought with a few wins, we would have a bit of breathing space but this week will decide it.

"There's very little separating the teams and we need to keep fighting to make sure we have our destiny in our hands.

"We have more than enough about us to get out of it. We always knew the challenge would be hard but maybe not everyone envisaged it going to the last week.

"But we are still in it. It's all about two big, massive games, and if we can get our focus right and retain the belief we can win them, we have the ability to get through this.

"It's about boys performing when the pressure is on. Looking at the boys, we know what is at stake and we know how hard everyone has worked to get us into this position. A lot of the players are from the area, the club means a lot to them and if the boys have the right mindset we have a good chance."

Institute will be out to impress new boss John Quigg, whose appointment was announced yesterday.

"We have had ding-dong battles with them and there hasn't been much between the sides," added centre-back Boyle.

"We are expecting a tight game and, with the new manager being appointed, the players will want to stake their claim for a place in the team next season.

"We have to focus on ourselves and, if we have the right attitude, we are more than capable of getting the right result."

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