IRISH LEAGUE: Rodney McAree targets Europe for Dungannon Swifts

Dungannon Swifts manager Rodney McAree
Dungannon Swifts manager Rodney McAree

Dungannon Swifts manager Rodney McAree is expecting a tough test when they host Ballymena United on Monday night (8pm).

In a repeat of recent BetMcClean League Cup final, which the Swifts won 3-1 against the Sky Blues, McAree feels his side need to win and close the gap on David Jeffrey’s men.

With a European play-off spot still up for grabs, McAree wants his players to finish the season strongly.

“It’s nice to know that we won the last game, but I don’t overly think the cup final will have too much bearing.

“It’s going to be a different game on a different pitch and it’s going to be another tough match for us.

“I feel it’s a game we have to try and get three points from to get that bit closer to Ballymena, to give ourselves a chance of hanging in for that seventh spot.

“I think there’s a bigger prize on offer at the end of the season, by finishing in seventh because you maybe will give yourselve an opportunity of getting into the play-offs for a European spot.

“So to win a cup and quality for Europe would be a great season.

“To win a cup was obviously fantastic and it’s great to have that little bit of silverware, but the rewards that come with European football has to be something that we have to try and achieve.”

McAree confirmed that defender Chris Hegarty (pictured) and Seanan Clucas are both struggling with injuries for this evening’s clash.

“Chris is a big doubt with a hamstring problem and Seanan picked up a knock at training on Saturday.”