CHAMPIONSHIP: Comrades boss has Warrenpoint as ‘odds on favourites’ for title

Press Eye Northern Ireland - October 22nd 2016
Northern Ireland Football League  Championship 1 
Ballyclare Comrades v Loughgiall at Dixon Park, Ballyclare 
Mandatory Credit - Pic by John McIlwaine - Press Eye 
Ballyclare manager Stephen Hughes
Press Eye Northern Ireland - October 22nd 2016 Northern Ireland Football League Championship 1 Ballyclare Comrades v Loughgiall at Dixon Park, Ballyclare Mandatory Credit - Pic by John McIlwaine - Press Eye Ballyclare manager Stephen Hughes

Ballyclare Comrades boss Stephen Hughes says Warrenpoint are ‘odds on favourites’ to win the Championship.

Hughes’ side were unexpectedly beaten 2-1 by Loughgall on Saturday, allowing Warrenpoint, who hit Lurgan Celtic for six, to move four points clear at the top.

The Comrades also dropped a point behind Institute into third.

“Warrenpoint are now firmly in the box seat,” reflected Hughes. “Having opened up a four point gap with a match in hand, and approaching the halfway stage, (they) are odds-on favourites to bounce straight back to the Premiership, so it looks like the rest of us will be battling for that coveted runners-up spot, that would involve an end of season promotion play-off.

“At the beginning of the season my aim was to be in the promotion frame in January and we are on course for that, but we will have to knuckle down to make sure of picking up points from the two remaining games in December.

“I had hoped to amass eight or nine points from the four games this month, but Saturday’s defeat means that we have to beat Larne and Dergview to collect seven.

“Following a defeat you look forward to the next clash to get it out of your system, but unfortunately we have no match this weekend, so the lads will have to satisfy themselves with strenuous workouts in training.”

Fans, fearing concussion, were concerned when Chris Trussell had to come off after half an hour following a clash of heads, but Hughes confirmed that the striker was taken off as a precautionary measure. “He never lost consciousness, but had blurred vision, so there is no real concern about his welfare, and I expect him to be leading the line at Inver Park,” stated Hughes.

Meanwhile, after switching to left back, winger Adam Gray has deservedly picked up the Supporters Club November Player of the Month trophy, following a series of sparkling displays.