Ballyclare Comrades’ recent drop down the Championship 1 table has prompted manager Eddie Hill to consider pulling on the boots again.
In his playing days Hill was so often the Reds’ talisman, and he feels that his experience on the pitch might restore the players’ confidence that has been so obviously missing in the run of six defeats.
“We have had a great season with good runs in three cups, but the lads have been unable to carry this form in to the league fixtures so I am prepared to come out of retirement in the closing weeks of the season,” he said.
Asked if the underlying problem was that the squad was not strong enough to compete at the higher level following promotion, Hill bristled a little.
“Not at all,” he retorted. “I have full confidence in the squad I have, but asking them to deliver on a Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday programme on a regular basis is a tough ask for part-time players.
“We have plenty of skill in the squad, but confidence has dipped and I will have to address that.
“During my two-and-a-half years in charge I don’t remember us ever losing three on the trot, never mind six, but every team has a bad patch and we will have to play ourselves out of this one,” he reasoned.
Reflecting Saturday’s the defeat in Loughgall, he said: “When you score four goals you don’t expect to lose. We conceded playground goals, and I was disgusted that three of them came from corners.
“Having to play the final half-hour with only 10 men following Simon McGowan’s second red card in three weeks didn’t help, but we will have to pick ourselves up in a very difficult end-of-season phase.
“Following our trip to Coagh on Tuesday, we have to travel to Dergview and Donegal Celtic before our final fixture against Knockbreda at Dixon Park, so we will be pulling out all the stops to halt the slide down the table.”