Title hopeful Haveron focused on clash at Dixon Park

Carrick boss Gary Haveron. Photo: Presseye
Carrick boss Gary Haveron. Photo: Presseye

Carrick boss Gary Haveron is insisting he doesn’t go in for the talk about the different potential outcomes to an intriguing Championship 1 campaign.

His Rangers side sit second in the table - and could lift the title if they win their remaining games.

But the manager’s mantra is one game at a time and this weekend he takes his team to Dixon Park to face a Ballyclare side who have a stubbornly strong home record.

“I accept we will almost certainly win the league if we win the five games we have left but, from the day and hour that I have been in the job it’s never been my focus,” Haveron said.

“All the different scenarios are great for supporters and the media to talk about, but I always believe that if we win the next three points then that asks questions of everybody else.

“When we lost to Loughgall, things looked pretty bad, but we turned that around and went to the top of the table.

“We didn’t have a match at the weekend and now we are in second place. Things change from week to week and table-watching doesn’t affect what happens, so what’s the point in getting wrapped up in these things?”

“But my focus right now is firmly fixed on the trip to Dixon Park this weekend - a tough proposition because Ballyclare are notoriously difficult to beat there.

“We know that well from first-hand experience. They beat us in the Irish Cup (a 2-1 defeat) when they caught us cold twice and scored two goals, perhaps from the only two real chances they created. We pulled one back by half-time, but they held out.

“I have great respect for the fine job Eddie Hill has done in his first season in Championship 1.

“Eddie was a great Irish League player and had tremendous courage and steel for a man of his stature, which was not advantageous in senior football at a time when that league was extremely physical. And he has instilled the same kind of attitude in his players and they are quite a big, physical side.

“His team is also bristling with players who are blessed with technical ability and they will be well up for the derby clash. I know he has targeted a top-six finish and they will be all out to win three more valuable points.

“I have great respect for this Comrades team and for Eddie, but I have always said that my focus is on how we perform and I believe that, if we play to our ability, we can beat any opposition on the day and I am confident we can get the result we need to keep the momentum going.”