Top-of-the-table trip just another game for Smith

Scott McCordick scored three goals for Annagh United against Dollingstown. Pic by Aaron McGlade Photography.
Scott McCordick scored three goals for Annagh United against Dollingstown. Pic by Aaron McGlade Photography.

Annagh United manager Dean Smith is refusing to place extra emphasis on the weekend trip to face Lurgan Celtic in a battle for top spot.

Back-to-back NIFL Championship Two wins by Annagh across four days have placed Smith’s squad level at the head of the standings with Celtic.

Celtic have played one game fewer as Annagh enter the closing five fixtures of the league campaign.

Despite the high stakes on paper, Smith’s aim is to trust in the character of his squad but play down any title talk.

“We achieved two great results recently against Dollingstown and Tobermore United but I do not consider this weekend as make or break,” said Smith. “The pressure sits with Lurgan Celtic and we will treat the match the same as every other game.

“Nothing will be decided on Saturday and our aim remains to finish as high up the table as possible.

I do not consider this weekend as make or break

Dean Smith

“Of course we want to win the title but, if that becomes out of reach, the next target is second.

“Promotion as champions or runners-up would be wonderful for the club and, in particular, this group of players.

“This is a squad full of hunger and they deserve success following so much hard work.

“The outcome remains in our hands so that is all you can ask at this point but we do not feel under any pressure.”

Scott McCordick grabbed a weekend hat-trick in the 5-1 defeat of Dollingstown, with Shea Campbell claiming the midweek matchball against Tobermore United.

“The first half against Dollingstown proved quite tight but Scott was basically unplayable,” said Smith. “The only downside then came with Scott’s knee injury.

“We need to wait to see how serious it is but Scott will certainly miss Saturday’s game.

“We had a number of senior players ruled out for the midweek trip to Tobermore and looked down and out by half-time with the score 1-0.

“Then Shea Campbell made his mark with three second-half goals but it was a performance of real character.

“Shea’s finishing made the difference but credit to the whole team for digging in and turning around the situation.

“The service in the second half was excellent, with Nathan Riddle and Francis McCann superb out wide and Steven Park full of midfield energy.

“Shea actually was rated doubtful with neck trouble up until the morning of the match but played through the pain barrier.

“That level of commitment across the squad has helped us get this far and will help us continue to progress.”

Kick-off at Lurgan Celtic will be 3 o’clock.