LOUGHGALL manager Colin Malone has highlighted his concerns at the side’s post-Christmas slump in form.
Last weekend’s IFA Championship 1 programme finished in a 3-0 defeat away to Tobermore United.
It marked a fifth successive game without victory – a dismal response to success on Boxing Day in the Bob Radcliffe Cup final.
Loughgall may have a trophy in the Lakeview Park cabinet but Malone has emphasised how a turnaround in form is required to avoid getting sucked into the relegation fight.
The Villagers now sit in the bottom half of the table with just 17 points as a return from 15 fixtures.
“The reality is you can quickly become stuck in the relegation zone and losing form is hard to change without hard work,” said Malone. “We have never been able to push on from the festive cup win and really lacked the basics on Saturday.
“When stuck in a run without a win you need the fundamentals, such as working hard off the ball.
“We seemed too keen on simply moving it around and attempting nice football, of which I will always support but only when done alongside the ugly stuff.
“You need to be hard to beat at this level and have the desire to dig deep when times look tough.
“At this time of the year, the playing surfaces do not aid nice football and we must turn things around before the run results in real trouble.
“If we had put in the necessary graft I am confident last weekend’s match would have been a different turnout.
“Now we travel this weekend to take on a Carrick side fresh from adding players in the January window.
“The bottom line is the only response must be to work hard.”