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Ballinamallard Utd v Ballymena Utd, Today 3pm

GLENN FERGUSON has challenged Ballymena United to continue rolling back the years this season.

Only Sky Blue fans of a certain vintage can recall the club enjoying as buoyant a start to a campaign.

United lie top of the Danske Bank Premiership with 13 points from a possible 18 heading into today's trip to second bottom Ballinamallard United.

Remarkably, you have to go back to 1980/81 and 1984/85 to find the last time the club boasted a similar points haul six games into a top flight campaign.

"I'm pleased with the start we have made and the players should relish the challenge of building on it now," said Ferguson.

"At the start of the season I told the players it was important we got points on the board early. I wanted to hit the ground running and we've managed to achieve that.

"Of course, it's very early days and things can change very quickly, but I'd much rather be looking ut I d muc down on teams than looking up at them."

Ferguson, who was this week named Northern Ireland Football Writers' manager of the month for August, is demanding more of the same from his players in the weeks ahead.

"We are where we are thanks to hard work and sticking to the game plan," he said. "If we continue in that vein we can pick up more positive results. That's the challenge now."

Ballymena are boosted by the return of captain Allan Jenkins, who was suspended for Tuesday's 2-1 win over Institute following a red card in last week's 2-1 defeat at Glenavon.

Reigning champions Cliftonville, who lie just below the Sky Blues in the table, travel to Warrenpoint Town who secured their first points of the season with a 2-0 midweek win over Dungannon Swifts.

The Reds were leapfrogged by Ballymena at the summit following their 0-0 draw with Linfield at Solitude on Tuesday.

Boss Tommy Breslin said: "Warrenpoint got their first win on Tuesday so their tails will be up. We've had plenty of problems with them in the past, so our attitude will have to be right."

Glenavon, just two points off the top, will aim to make it three wins on the bounce at Institute.

Dungannon Swifts travel to Portadown who have Keith O'Hara back from suspension.

STANDINGS PWD LF APTS Ballymena Utd 6 4 11 13 7 13 Cliftonville 63 30 11 5 12 Crusaders 6321 15 10 11 Glenavon 6321 10811 Linfield 6321 7711 Portadown 6222968 Institute 6222988 Glentoran 6132886 Dungannon 6123595 Coleraine 6123 7125 Ballinamallard 60 33 5 12 3 Warrenpoint 6 10 54 11 3 TODAY'S FIXTURES Ballinamallard v Ballymena Glentoran v Coleraine Institute v Glenavon portadown v Dungannon Warrenpoint v Cliftonville * The Crusaders versus Linfield match has been postponed due to international call-ups


JOY Darren Boyce celebrates goal in fine Ballymena run

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Sep 6, 2014
Previous Article:PEST FOOT FORWARD; Northern Ireland veterans target winning start.

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