Belfast Telegraph

Battling spirit can secure safety for Carrick, says McAlinden

By Steven Beacom

Carrick Rangers may have been written off all season but boss Davy McAlinden believes if his side show the character in their final league game of the season that earned them a precious win at Glentoran last weekend, they can avoid relegation.

Like at the top of the table, only goal difference separates the two sides at the bottom with Carrick in 11th and Ballinamallard United both on 20 points.

Crucially, McAlinden's men have a -48 goal difference whereas the Fermanagh side have -53 approaching Saturday when the former travel to Warrenpoint and the latter are at Glentoran.

Whoever ends up at the foot of the Danske Bank Premiership will be relegated, with the second-bottom side entering a play-off with Newry City.

Ballinamallard looked doomed until Harry McConkey took over as boss last month. They moved above Carrick with a recent 2-1 win over Rangers at Ferney Park, but back came McAlinden's battlers with a 2-1 win at The Oval as the Fermanagh side were drawing 1-1 away to Ards.

Unless McConkey's team go goal crazy in east Belfast, a victory at Warrenpoint should be enough to secure Carrick's top-flight future for now after many pundits predicted relegation.

"I think after we lost to Ballinamallard, people thought that was it for us," said McAlinden.

"The character the boys showed at The Oval was testament to how much they want to stay in the top division. We were a goal down against Glentoran as well which made it an even better result.

"I knew they had it in them to do it at half-time and it was a fantastic win for us.

"The players know what is expected of them at Warrenpoint and we all know that if we play like we did against Glentoran and show the same character we'll give ourselves a great chance."

While other managers may say they will only focus on their own team in situations like this, McAlinden is honest enough to admit he will be aware of what is going on with Ballinamallard.

"We will have one eye on how Ballinamallard are doing at Glentoran but we know if we win the game we will go into the play-off," he said.

Belfast Telegraph

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