IVAN Sproule believes his Dergview team isn’t “a million miles away” from being competitive in the Bluefin Sport Championship.
Dergview suffered a fifth league defeat on the trot by going down 2-0 to fourth placed Dundela at Darragh Park on Saturday.
A Ross Holden goal gave the visitors a narrow first half advantage but it wasn’t until substitute Tiarnan McNicholl swooped in the final moments that Dundela made sure of the points.
Just before that second goal Dergview replacement Simon McGlynn almost forced home an equaliser but in the end Sproule and company were left reflecting on yet another defeat.
Despite the poor run of form, Sproule isn’t panicking just yet and says it’s important that his team picks up as many points as possible before the new year.
“Saturday was an OK performance,” he reflected.
“Dundela weren’t that much better than us. At this moment in time we’re lacking that cutting edge in the final third.
“Our mistakes are being punished at the minute, it’s been a tough run. Our last win was against Knockbreda before our run of five defeats.
“But we are working tirelessly hard and I can’t fault the players for their work rate and effort. They trained Monday, Tuesday and Thursday last week but we have players at the minute who are maybe lacking that wee bit of confidence. It’s up to me and the coaching staff to get that back into them.
“But ultimately it’s up to the players to find the performances in recording clean sheets, creating things and scoring goals.”
The good news for Sproule is that he could well have a full strength squad at his disposal for tomorrow’s trip to Dixon Park. Skipper Blaine Burns will return from suspension, Damien McNulty will come back in after missing last weekend because of a wedding and it is hoped that midfielder Graham Young will return to training this week following injury.
Gareth Doherty and Simon McGlynn were both named in the squad against Dundela but Doherty was an unused substitute because of a dead leg while striker McGlynn had been down with the flu all week.
Despite having a full deck to select from Sproule is well aware tomorrow will present another major challenge for his players.
“Ballyclare is a tough place to go, they are coming off the back of a win themselves,” he added.
“Hopefully this week I’ll have everyone back fit again and that will hopefully give us an extra bite going into Saturday’s game.
“Players are going to continue to get chances because when you are not winning games players can’t turn around and say that they merit their place on the team.
“The club understands the situation it is in. I said it in an interview a few weeks ago that this wasn’t going to be a quick fix and it was going to get worse before it gets better.
“We are lacking that bit of quality. The players need help and it’s up to me to try and find that.
“January probably can’t come soon enough, not to get players out the door but to bring quality in to help the others that are there.
“I told the players after Saturday that we have to get as many points on the board before Christmas. At the moment we are in a survival fight and every point is precious.
“We still have the Irish Cup and a cup final (North West Senior Cup) to look forward to.
“Although the players might be feeling some doom and gloom after five defeats, the fact is we are not a million miles away. We are not winning games yet but if we can find that we bit of form and get one or two new players in then things could turn quite quickly.”