Former United favourites out to add to Sky Blues’ misery

Mark Surgenor (right) joined Carrick Rangers in the summer after six years with Ballymena United. Picture: Press Eye.
Mark Surgenor (right) joined Carrick Rangers in the summer after six years with Ballymena United. Picture: Press Eye.

Between them, they made almost 400 appearances during more than a decade of service to Ballymena United.

But tonight, the focus of both Gary Haveron and Mark Surgenor will be on adding to the current plight of the club where they were revered as players.

Haveron, now manager of Carrick Rangers, brings his Premiership new boys to the Showgrounds aiming to add to their impressive opening to life back in the top flight, where they have picked up four points from their opening four games.

Haveron, a much-loved figure among the Showgrounds faithful for his whole-hearted approach and his determination in battling back from two broken legs, hopes his side can take advantage of Ballymena’s current predicament to help Rangers maintain their promising start.

“There is a lot of pressure building on Ballymena after a disappointing start, something I don’t like to see as I have great affection for the club after some happy years playing for them.

“But I will obviously be hoping to add to their current woes, because this and the following league game against Warrenpoint Town are clearly very important fixtures for us,” he added.

Gary Haveron has enjoyed a successful start to his managerial career with Carrick Rangers. Picture: Press Eye.

Gary Haveron has enjoyed a successful start to his managerial career with Carrick Rangers. Picture: Press Eye.

One of Haveron’s moves in the summer transfer market was to snap up his former Ballymena team-mate Mark Surgenor after he was deemed surplus to requirements at the Showgrounds.

The Broughshane man admits it will be an unusual experience to emerge from the away dressing room at the warden Street venue but insists his full focus is on his current employers.

“There will be no sentiment on my part. Definitely not. There can’t be.

I’ve moved on and Carrick’s my new team and I’m 100 per cent focused on how Carrick do.

Football’s quite fickle - Ballymena won’t worry about me and I’ll not worry about them.

“It’s a weird one. I’ve moved on. Carrick is my club now and I look after my own garden. I just care how we do.

“I used to play for Ballymena but it will mean nothing to me. I’m not the sort that’s going to dwell on the fact that I used to play for them.

I’m just going to go there, want to win the game and that’s just the way it’s going to be.”

“You’re always wary of a team that’s on a losing streak whenever you play them because you think the run can’t go on forever. “But I think we will go there and get at them straight away and try and play on their vulnerabilities. Hopefully we’ll get the three points but we’ll go with a game plan and we’ll give it our best shot,” added Surgenor.