Time to turn training boost into points

Wesley Boyle (left). Pic by PressEye Ltd.
Wesley Boyle (left). Pic by PressEye Ltd.

Loughgall coach Steven Hawe has reminded the struggling Lakeview Park squad of the privilege provided by Irish League football as an added incentive towards securing safety.

Hawe arrived as part of the backroom team assembled by Noel Mitchell this month in the wake of Brian Adair’s resignation as manager.

The former Blackburn Rovers and Irish League centre-back has been left encouraged by the quality on display in training but admits there is a need to translate that improvement on to the pitch.

“I was working with a team in the Ballymena area and the lads had to pay money to play,” said Hawe. “It is important for us to remember that and, ultimately, there is only so much we can do on the training pitch.

“It is up to the players to produce but there is certainly quality at this club and we feel one result can turned everything around at Loughgall.

“In this NIFL Championship One it is so tight and two or three results can suddenly make all the difference in climbing up the table.”

Loughgall take on high-flying Harland and Wolff Welders this weekend aiming to integrate recent signings with the existing squad to try and return to winning ways.

Jason Greenaway has arrived from Glenavon and Adam Steenson made his debut on Friday for the club’s reserves. Jeff Brady and Tom Carlin had to miss out the Intermediate Cup tie last weekend due to ineligibility but return to the panel for Saturday.

“We are still hoping to bring in a few before the weekend trip,” said Hawe. “It is about improving the quality across the group and a bit of extra experience can really help.

“There has been a positive response in training since we came in and it is all part of the rebuilding process.

“Obviously when results have not been good it is natural to be a bit down but the players have the ability to turn it around.”

Conor McMenamin - who spent part of this season on loan at Loughgall - grabbed a weekend hat-trick at Lakeview park as Linfield Swifts defeated the Villagers by 3-0.

Loughgall sit 12th in the league standings on 12 points from 14 fixtures - with bottom-placed Dundela on eight and both Ballyclare Comrades and Donegal Celtic enjoying a two-point lead over the Villagers.