David Jeffrey has warned his Ballymena United players not to waste the impetus they created in their weekend draw with Crusaders.
The new Sky Blues boss was impressed with his side’s performance in his first game in charge - but has warned his players they must emulate those levels when they entertain Warrenpoint Town in a crunch Danske Bank Premiership relegation tussle this Saturday (3pm).
“Saturday was a big deal for the players but only as big a deal as how they go about this week because the Warrenpoint game is massive.
“There is no point coming in and playing and giving of your best against Crusaders and then not turning up the next week.
“That is going to be part of the learning - that is the next part of the lesson.
“I said to the players, I’ll be behind you, I’ll be beside you but most importantly, I’ll always be in front of you. I’ll have your back if you have mine.
“It’s very simple, if you look after things on the pitch, I’ll try to look after things off it and we’ll look after each other.
“The common base is winning games of football and where does that take you.
“People say ‘oh we’re so many points off a European play-off’ - that’s nonsense. The message is we’re in a relegation dogfight if we don’t win games, make no mistake.
“I know managers like to downplay things but after the Dungannon defeat, the reality is we’re in a relegation dogfight - we’re a point safer after the Crusaders games but we’re not out of the woods, not by a stretch,” added Jeffrey.
The manager will be forced into at least one change with David Cushley beginning a two-match ban after accumulating 10 yellow cards.
The winger, who will leave United to join Crusaders in the summer, will also miss the following Saturday’s home game against Cliftonville.
Saturday’s match sponsor is Ballymena United Development Committee.