It’s pain game for David Jeffrey’s Ballymena United ahead of Larne test

Ballymena United boss David Jeffrey considers the club in “a challenging period” in the aftermath of a midweek League Cup exit which proved painful on a number of fronts.

The extra-time loss to Crusaders by 2-1 left Ballymena out of the competition and with injury issues over Leroy Millar and Ryan Harpur, alongside existing problems impacting on a number of players. United, last season’s Danske Bank Premiership runners-up, now host Larne aiming to bounce from three consecutive defeats.

“We are going through a challenging period,” said Jeffrey following the League Cup quarter-final loss. “I can’t fault the effort and commitment of the players.

“We are getting everything we can out of them.

“Larne will be another very, very difficult game.

“We’ll look forward to it as we do in every game.

“We did well at Inver earlier in the season and they will come looking for revenge.

“Injuries are not helping us.

“We’ll assess the squad over the latter part of the week to see who we have available and we will prepare accordingly.”

Larne boss Tiernan Lynch is calling for increased collective effort following a wait for victory across all competitions dating back to September 14.

“We just need that little victory to get us out of this rut that we are in but, as I said, there’s no one else getting us out of it, we have to get ourselves out of it,” said Lynch after the weekend draw with Institute. “The way to get out of it is by pure hard work and rolling our sleeves up, stand up and be counted.

“There’s no easy games in this league...we have to have the character to overcome these situations.”