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Table-topping Ports next up for Derg strugglers

AHEAD of the visit of league leaders Portadown to Darragh Park tomorrow, Dergview boss Ivan Sproule said some of his players need to stop feeling sorry for themselves and start believing they can turn things around.

The Castlederg side’s winless run continued on Saturday with a 2-0 defeat at Ballyclare Comrades and they remain second bottom level on points with basement boys Knockbreda. The visitors missed a couple of opportunities before two goals in as many minutes by Joe Tully and Gary Donnelly secured the points for Comrades.

Dergview do have three games in hand of ‘Breda and the PSNI, who picked up a rare win at Ards, but Sproule insisted the clock was ticking for his team.

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“Time is ticking on, the players and myself have to realise that time is running out. We need to get that win, stop that rot, sooner rather than later,” he said.

“Everything has been done, it’s over to the players now. We have done everything we possibly can on the training ground, for me now it’s up to the players to give those individual performances as well as a collective team performance.

“I said to them going into the Ballyclare that the game wouldn’t be won in one half, it won’t be won in the defensive half or the attacking half. It’s won in both halves.

“We are not doing that. That’s why we have got only one clean sheet in the league, it’s a disgraceful stat to have and I take full responsibility. It’s my team, I steer the ship but it’s a stat I’m ashamed of but I shouldn’t be the only one ashamed of it.

“We can’t hide away. My team is second from bottom and that means I’m the second worst manager in the league. We need to start believing in ourselves again, one or two players are licking their wounds and feeling sorry for themselves.

“Feeling sorry is not going to get us out of a relegation battle.”

Right now every game is a big game for Dergview but with the Ports six points clear at the Championship summit tomorrow’s contest is likely to draw a bumper crowd.

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That will bring an electric atmosphere to the Derg venue and with it an opportunity for Sproule’s strugglers to rise to the occasion.

The sides have already met twice this season with Matthew Tipton’s men winning 2-1 at Darragh Park and 2-0 back at Shamrock Park. Both games were in the balance until the final whistle but that was of little consolation to the North Tyrone men.

“Saturday is a big game no matter what way you look at it,” continued Sproule.

“Our last win in the league was against Knockbreda, that must be coming up on three months ago.

“All the players and the staff are trying to put that right. We can’t identify one game to get us going again.

“We need to win a game of football and we’ll be going out to beat Portadown on Saturday. Portadown are top of the league and a million miles away from where we are at at the moment as a team but we have to be collectively strong and give a good account of ourselves.

“If we can take the chances that we missed last week at key times then we will give ourselves a better chance of going on to win and pick up three points.

“The game at home we went into as underdogs, as you do against Portadown, and I think the boys froze a wee bit. The boys came out in the second half had a go and ended up getting beat 2-1 and Portadown were hanging on at the end. Only for their goalkeeper we probably should have picked something up.

“At Shamrock Park we hit the crossbar, hit the post and then they scored twice late on.

“But we are fed up hearing ourselves saying it could have been, it should have been.

“You have to take your chances and the players have to realise that.

“No one wants to hear sob stories and it’s the same for myself. No one wants to hear you were close, we have to start winning games of football.”

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