Wakehurst aiming for quick return to Championship

Coagh Utd's Stuart Forrest battles for the ball in the middle of the park during Saturday's league clash with Wakehurst at Hagan Park.INMM1516-374
Coagh Utd's Stuart Forrest battles for the ball in the middle of the park during Saturday's league clash with Wakehurst at Hagan Park.INMM1516-374

Wakehurst have outlined the path they hope to take in order to regain their Irish League status.

The Ballymena side will play outside of the country’s top three divisions for the first time in 13 years next season after being relegated following a dismal season in Championship Two.

And while they play out their remaining fixtures, behind the scenes the club is already re-grouping in an attempt to bounce back from this year’s setback.

“We met last week to discuss the future and the indication was very clear that we want to try and get back up into Championship Two as quickly as possible,” interim manager and committee member Dougie Stevenson told Times Sport.

“It seems likely that we will apply to join the Ballymena & Provincial League which, if we could win it, would give us a shot at coming back up.

“There’s no guarantee that would happen because there are some good teams in that league but it offers the possibility of a quicker return to the Championship than entering another league at the bottom of their ladder and then having to come up through several divisions.

“We would hope to return to playing in the Ballymena area but there are some issues with regard to grounds in the event of getting back to the Championship that we need to clarify with the Northern Ireland Football League,” added Stevenson.

Meanwhile, in their first game since relegation was confirmed, Wakehurst suffered a 1-0 defeat at Coagh United.

“There have been games where we haven’t deserved anything but on Saturday we should certainly have taken something,” said Stevenson.

“We created a number of good chances - not even half-chances - but we just couldn’t take them.

“We also were badly hit with injuries with Conor Gregg and Charles Allen both suffering hamstring injuries and Nial Swan was split after a clash of heads.

“But no player has shirked or tried to hide and there is no sense at all of players simply going through the motions, which augurs well,” added Stevenson.

Wakehurst have two ‘home’ games this week, against Portstewart tonight (Tuesday) before they host landlords Moyola Park on Saturday.