Jeffrey relishing opening test at league champions

David Jeffrey shares a joke with his Ballymena United players as he met the squad for the first time during the week. Picture: Reid McAuley.
David Jeffrey shares a joke with his Ballymena United players as he met the squad for the first time during the week. Picture: Reid McAuley.

David Jeffrey is relishing the challenge of taking his Ballymena United side to champions Crusaders in his first game in charge this Saturday.

The Sky Blues face the runaway Danske Bank Premiership leaders at Seaview in their first game since Jeffrey took charge, following the dismissal of Glenn Ferguson.

It will be Jeffrey’s first time back in a dugout since he left Linfield almost two years ago and he is enthusiastic about his return.

“The reality is we’re coming off the back of a difficult run but to me it’s a fresh challenge for me and my players.

“I’ve covered Crusaders four or five times this year and they are the most complete squad in the country.

“They have nearly got two players for every position, such is the level of competition they’bve been able to create.

“They are league champions for very good reasons.

“There’s no harder place to go to get points because Crusaders will want to accumulate as many points as they can prior to the ‘split’ but the bottom line is that we have to think of ourselves only.

“I haven’t really thought too much about getting back into the dugout.

“The call was unexpected. I hadn;t been seeking a return or I hadn’t been trying to identify any opportunities or options and when I initially met (chairman) John Taggart and (vice-chairman) Don Stirling it was very much a case of ‘well why would I return to the game?’

“By the end of the process it was ‘well why WOULDN’T I?’.

“It’s a challenge that I really wanted to take on. I had to be very clear in my own mind on the commitment levels and what I put into management.

“Was I prepared to do that again and I came to the consluion that was a very emphatic ‘yes’.

“What I gave elsewhere I will give to Ballymena United in abundance.

“The last time I watched Ballymena was in the County Antrim Shield final when they were absolutrely excellent, tremendous.

“I know the heights Ballymena can reach and how well this squad can play - let’s see if we can get that on a more consistent basis, added Jeffrey.

* Seven Towers Supporters’ Club transport for the match at Seaview leaves Henry Street car park at 2pm.