Ballymena United manager David Jeffrey ready for Portadown battle

Ballymena United manager David Jeffrey
Ballymena United manager David Jeffrey

Ballymena United manager David Jeffrey expects to face a fired up Portadown team in the Danske Bank Premiership at Shamrock Park on Saturday.

The Ports were beaten 4-1 by Linfield on Saturday and lie bottom of the league standings after a 12 point deduction at the start of the campaign - and they will be looking to get more points on the board,

Ballymena on the other hand are fifth in the table after Saturday’s 3-2 win against Cliftonville at the Showgrounds.

But Sky Blues manager Jeffrey knows what to expect when the two sides meet at the weekend.

“We played them last year and they came here and beat us easy.

“They are fighting for their lives and with regard to the situation they are in, and there is no clarity over the points deduction thing.

“They are playing assuming that they won’t have the points reinstated, so they will fight tooth and nail to win every match.

“Portadown are a team that usually finishes above Ballymena in the league table.

“So let us see how far we have come when we go to Shamrock Park and play in that type of game. It will be another massive challenge for us,” he added.

And Jeffrey says he was a happy man after seeing his side beat the Reds 3-2.

“We are looking to break into the top six and that is the target we have set ourselves.

“But there are clubs like ourselves who haven’t been in the top six and we are looking to get points off them. Cliftonville are a different kettle of fish as they are a top four side.

“They had their League Cup success last year and they are playing in Europe again this year.

“And they won a couple of league titles not that long ago and they were a real test for us.

“I thought we started brightly and we created chances. In the first half we had seven chances to their two.

“And we had been punished for one error and we make one mistake, they scored and that put us back a bit. But we play a good brand of football, we create chances and we take them. But we have to sort our defensive issues out.

“At half-time they were beating themselves up but I showed them the evidence that showed them how well they had played and I told them to have the same belief I have in them and go out and work your socks off. We got the result and I don’t think anyone can say that we didn’t deserve it. I am really pleased with the players,” he added.