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Warrenpoint town boss has striking views about Glenavon

By Billy Weir

Warrenpoint town manager Barry Gray hopes that opposite number Gary Hamilton's embarrassment of attacking riches could fall into his side's hands. Gray's men play host to Glenavon this evening eager to put the disappointment of Saturday's opening day defeat at Ballymena United behind them.

In the shadow of the Mournes, the Mourneview men arrive with an already potent forward line boosted by the considerable talents of Kevin Braniff and Eoin Bradley.

Former Derry GAA star Bradley wasted no time in getting off the mark for his new club when finding the target in Saturday's 2-2 draw with Crusaders, but Gray isn't one to shirk a challenge.

"My seven signings probably cost as much as one of theirs but no matter who they sign they can only play two of those strikers," he said.

"The way we'll be looking at it is that with so many quality strikers, they can only play two up top, three at a push, so if he wants to cut and paste them into midfield areas, then you look at the weaknesses of that and see if we can try and exploit that.

"At the end of the day, as I said last year, we're not in it to batten up the hatches and see if we can pick up a scrappy draw here and there, we're here to try and win games and if it works, it works."

It's Town's second year in the top division of the local game, but the first when they can call upon the advantage of a full term on their own turf at Milltown having spent a good part of last season at Stangmore Park.

Of course, this means that they could well be prone to the dreaded 'second season syndrome' but Gray's players will not be allowed to use that as an excuse.

"I think it only exists in your head. The more we speak about it to the players, the more they'll find it acceptable to make excuses about a second season syndrome," he warned.

"You could say it about the second half of last season when we'd played everyone but you don't get that in the first season.

"We've taken seven players in this year so judging us on what we did last year won't be totally accurate.

"For me, yes it does exist but it's not something the players are going to get away with hanging their hat on or the management for that matter."

Gray was less than enamoured with his side's display at Ballymena last weekend, especially in a shambolic 20 minute spell in the first-half, and he has warned his players that they must improve, starting this evening.

"You're coming up against a Glenavon side that has firepower dropping out their backside," he added.

"And off the back of a 2-0 defeat but we've said to the players there's more to do.

"They have more to do on an individual basis that we can't do for them, even in terms of conditioning. Ballymena were sharper to it for large parts of the first-half and it begs the question because they had one competitive game under their belts are they a week further on than we are? Probably so, but you can't change that.

"It's not all negative. The scoreline is bad for us, we've dropped three points but there's another 37 games to go."

Belfast Telegraph


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