Belfast Telegraph

Still lots to do in Newry survival bid: John Boyle

Staying focused: John Boyle is keen to keep pointing way up
Staying focused: John Boyle is keen to keep pointing way up

By Alex Mills

Defender John Boyle admits that Newry City will continuously be looking over their shoulder, even though they have pulled clear of basement side Ards in the Danske Bank Premiership table.

The promoted border club have a chance to extend the gap to seven points when they host Ronnie McFall's Glentoran at The Showgrounds tonight.

City have reeled in seven points from a possible 12 in their last four games, but Boyle believes there is still a lot of hard work up ahead if they are to sustain their place in the top flight.

"We have put a bit of daylight between ourselves and Ards, but there are no weak teams in this league," he said.

"It's only a matter of time before Ards put a run of results together.

"We know the next four or five games over the Christmas period will be crucial. Those results will dictate whether we can climb the table or not.

"Every match is a battle in this league. If you are not on your game, you'll be beaten by any side - there are fine margins.

"There isn't a lot separating the top six and the bottom six.

"If we are to get anything out of this game (against Glentoran), we know we must be at our best.

"They have a lot of quality throughout their team, especially up front. But if we are on our game, I'm confident we can pick up some much-needed points."

Boyle stresses his boys can take confidence from recent wins against Coleraine and Ards and a hard-earned draw with Dungannon Swifts.

He said: "We had been playing quite well but results didn't go our way for a time.

"Thankfully, our luck has changed a wee bit. We know if we can put a couple of wins together, we can start pushing up the table.

"It's on a bit of a knife edge at the minute (Newry's league position), especially when we play the teams in and around us in the league table. It's really important to pick up points against them.

"The performance wasn't so good, but the result against Coleraine was - when you are at the bottom, points are the most important thing.

"Ards are sitting a bit adrift at the minute, but a month ago they turned over Linfield, so it shows what can happen.

"If you take your eye off the ball and think you are safe or have a bit of breathing space, teams can reel you in very quickly.

"We need to be on the front foot on Friday night ahead of our game against Warrenpoint Town on Boxing Day.

"If we could manage to get two good results, it will help us to look down at others in the league table, rather than look up.

"The festive period is always a difficult period, for teams at the top and the bottom. A couple of good results would help us really push on.

"And, if the results don't go our way, we could find ourselves back down at the bottom again. It's probably the most vital festive period I've been involved in because it could well determine how our season will pan out."

Newry have recruited Karl Moody from Malahide United but the striker cannot play for the club until January 12.

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