Saturday 3rd December v. Cliftonville (home) - Danske Bank Premiership - k.o: 3:00pm

Carrick Rangers Match Report
David Jeffrey's Friday Briefing
Uploaded Friday, 2nd Sep, 2022 at 15:26


BALLYMENA United manager David Jeffrey MBE has provided a Friday briefing ahead of Saturday’s Danske Bank Premiership game with Linfield at the Showgrounds.
The Big Two giants travel to the Braid on the back of a Europa Conference League penalty shootout defeat to RFS of Latvia and last Sunday's 2-1 league loss at Carrick Rangers.
Ballymena are also looking to bounce back from last Friday's 3-0 defeat - with 10 men following Steven McCullough-s 48th minute red card - to Larne at Inver Park.
We put the following questions to David Jeffrey ahead of Saturday's high-profile clash with Linfield who are chasing a fifth straight league title this season.
FIRSTLY, CAN YOU GIVE US A QUICK INJURY UPDATE AHEAD OF THE LINFIELD GAME?
DJ: "We currently have Conor Keeley (groin), Evan Tweed (abdominal muscle) and Andrew McGrory (calf) unavailable for selection.

"In all likelihood, both Conor and Evan are facing another two or three weeks on the sidelines, while Andrew's calf problem is being monitored by our medical staff.

"Unfortunately young Jordan McMullan has also been for a scan on a serious groin injury which is really disappointing, not only for Jordan but in terms of our plans for him moving forward.

"Steven McCullough is also suspended for the Linfield game so we have a number of players missing, but in these circumstances the squad has to stand up and be counted.

"Injuries provide opportunities for others and it's up to those players to step into the breach and make the most of those opportunities."
IS THERE A TIME FRAME ON DOUGIE WILSON'S POTENTIAL RETURN TO FIRST TEAM ACTION?
DJ: "Dougie is progressing with his rehab following hip surgery and it is hoped he will be back playing again around October time, which is positive news."
LINFIELD WERE KNOCKED OUT OF EUROPE JUST OVER A WEEK AGO AND THEY LOST TO CARRICK RANGERS LAST SUNDAY. WHAT DO YOU EXPECT FROM THEM THIS WEEKEND?
DJ: "We are preparing for the inevitable - an unmerciful backlash.

"I was working at the RFS game for BBC and Linfield were so unfortunate not to progress and make history by reaching the group stages of the Europa Conference League.

"Having missed out in such agonising fashion, I know David Healy will be doubly determined to put things right next year and that means they'll be highly motivated to defend their title.

"I keep telling everyone that on our day we can give anyone a game, but to give teams of Linfield's calibre a game, we will need our best players to be at their best."
ONE WEEK ON, HOW DO YOU REFLECT ON LAST FRIDAY'S GAME AT LARNE?
DJ: "Before going down to 10 men there were aspects of the game where we felt we could and should have done better and the obvious one is in front of goal.

"We had two great chances for Josh (Kelly) and David McDaid to open the scoring. If we had taken one of those chances, the complexion of the game would have changed massively.

"Even at 1-0 down, we felt going in at half-time that we had a good chance of getting something out of the game, but the red card made it really difficult.

"I'm still of the opinion that if Steven McCullough's challenge merited a red card, then Paul O'Neill's challenge on Sean O'Neill in the first-half also merited a red card.

"It's a game of opinions and (referee) Raymond Crangle will have his opinion, but my view hasn't changed. If anyone looks at the footage they will see where we're coming from."

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