IRISH LEAGUE: David Jeffrey expects tough encounter at Solitude

Ballymena United manager David Jeffrey
Ballymena United manager David Jeffrey

Ballymena United manager David Jeffrey will be hoping his side can bounce back against Cliftonville on Saturday after a 4-1 defeat to Dungannon Swifts last weekend.

The Sky Blues are ravaged by injuries and former Linfield chief Jeffrey knows that Cliftonville will be a huge test for his side.

“Cliftonville had a great win against Linfield on Saturday so going to Solitude will be a huge test of character for the players.

“The Reds at home is a huge test of character, but hopefully we can throw the Dungannon defeat in the bin.

“We have not had that many disappointments this year and when we have had disappointments we have bounced back.

“But it is not about putting out a challenge to the players.

“They have done really, really well this season and it is up to us to keep working with them and making them better.

“And this is not an excuse, it is a fact.

“The squad has been stretched and unfortunately will came up short against Dungannon.”

And Jeffrey says injuries in his squad did not help against Dungannon.

“You hit the nail right on the head because the team was not changing and the same group of players were playing really well

“They were being pushed by the people behind them to get into the team but over the last couple of weeks it has been crash, bag, wallop.

“We have Johnny McMurray out with an ankle injury.

“We have Gary Thompson out who is going for a knee operation.

“Stephen McBride has had knee surgery and is just getting back into it.

“Neil Lowry, Conor McCloskey and others and this takes its toll.

“Sometimes when you go to the same well for water, there is nothing left,” added Jeffrey.

And Cliftonville manager Gerard Lyttle will be looking to kick on from last weekend’s 2-1 win against Linfield.

The Reds will have taken confidence from that win and will be looking to see off the Sky Blues.