Loughgall: Dean Smith’s focus on future gains beyond current goals

Loughgall enter the closing six games of the Bluefin Sport Championship with focus on future progress.

Thursday, 7th March 2019, 12:00 pm
Loughgall boss Dean Smith. Pic by PressEye Ltd.

Manager Dean Smith is aiming to maintain the momentum which has left The Villagers unbeaten over February in contrast to a sole success across both December and January.

However, Smith highlights goals beyond immediate points and pride in search of solutions to the issues which disrupted this season.

“We are disappointed not to be in the top six because we feel over the majority of games we proved that to be the case,” said Smith. “But the bottom line is it didn’t happen and now it is about finishing the season with as many wins as possible to take seventh spot and top of Section B.

“Wins are important but it is also about using this period between now and the end of the season to blood younger players plus try out different things with a view to the future.

“The work going on outside the firsts by people like David Johnstone, Darragh Peden and Gary Wilkinson has been excellent, on top of the facilities at the club to help players develop.

“So this offers a great opportunity to introduce players over the rest of the season and continue that integration which has been ongoing up to first-team level.

“But, in the same way as when we are looking to make signings, it is about players with the right quality not just the right age.

“Every club must look within given the financial restrictions and it is certainly something we have been key to focus on over the rest of the campaign.”

One familiar face gaining minutes is Scott McCullough, with time on the pitch against Limavady United a welcome boost for the player and club following an injury-hit time at Lakeview Park.

“Because I know Scott then I was well-aware of his ability and attributes when we signed him,” said Smith. “That doesn’t change even off 20 months out with injury and we can see first-hand exactly how hard Scott has worked to get back to this point.

“He is still ahead of schedule in many ways and the idea is to get him ready for a full pre-season programme in advance of next season.

“It is great to have him back and Scott is already showing that talent on the ball, ability to cause teams problems with his passing and reading of the game.

“Even in training we’ve seen so many examples of what he can bring to the side and it is a testament to his dedication to have him at this stage off that knee injury.”

Loughgall host Dergview tomorrow (Saturday) from 3 o’clock.