Mullen set for immediate return to squad

Warner Mullen.
Warner Mullen.
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The striker headed Down Under at the start of March - with Loughgall playing host tomorrow (Saturday) to Harland and Wolff Welders aiming to halt a three-game losing sequence.

A failure to find the net in defeats to Knockbreda, Armagh City and Dergview has increased the demand for Mullen’s return to the Loughgall frontline.

Mullen’s form in front of goal before his trip attracted individual recognition with a Championship Player of the Month award alongside team progress.

“He arrives home Saturday morning but we will certainly bring Warner back into the squad,” said Loughgall manager Gerald Boyle. “We have been in touch and Warner is keen to get back on track as quickly as possible.

“It is something we will review on the day of the match but it is great to have him back.”

Boyle views the run of defeats as the reality of a squad stretched by injuries, suspension and unavailability in recent weeks.

The Easter Tuesday reverse at home to Knockbreda by 7-0 arrived days after a weekend 4-0 derby defeat by Armagh City in the aftermath of Dergview’s 2-0 success at Lakeview Park.

He accepts the results serve as a reflection of the demands of the hectic fixture schedule combined with restricted selection options.

“It is about trying to get the right balance and, maybe, some could say we should have been more productive in the January transfer window,” said Boyle. “However, you must also think about the balance of the group overall and bringing in too many players can disrupt the benefits of having a tight-knit group.

“You need to manage the squad but obviously losing key players has an impact.

“Warner has been away, plus missing people like Ricky Copeland, Steven Ferguson and Graeme Taylor disrupts your plans.

“You end up having to tinker with the system and formations to try and fit players into different positions just to field a side.

“You also end up making decisions over injuries but, thankfully, we have not significantly aggravated anything on that front.

“It is far from ideal but a learning curve for everyone, especially with so many games in such a short space of time.

“Over time, as those problems start to ease, I am confident we can turn the results around and get back on track.”