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SPORT WILL PACKIE A LATE PUNCH; McAllister making a determined push to keep rock bottom Leisure in division.


PACKIE McAllister is adamant he won't be suffering another relegation heartache after stepping into the breach at troubled Sport and Leisure Swifts.

McAllister went through the anguish of dropping from the Irish Premier League with Donegal Celtic last season.

And he takes over the reins at Glen Road Heights with the club staring into an ever bleaker fate.

Rooted to the foot of the table without a win in their last nine league games, the trap door is getting ever wider.

They are five points adrift of second-bottom Killymoon Rangers but, perhaps crucially, still have two games in hand on their Mid-Ulster rivals.

The threat of relegation for Championship 2 sides is very real this season with Dollingstown and Brantwood waiting in the wings to follow Newington into the league next season.

It has looked for the majority of the season as though Killymoon and Sport and Leisure would be battling it out to avoid such a fate.

The Swifts just haven't got going with only two league wins all season and boss Frankie Wilson departing last month.

Next up for the West Belfast outfit is a trip to promotionchasing Queen's University this evening followed by home to third-place Annagh United on Saturday.

But McAllister has seen enough in his short time at the club to foresee them escaping the drop.

He told Match on Tuesday: "I've come here for one reason and that's to keep this club up.

"There are good people at this club who have worked hard to keep them where they are.

"I was enjoying having a break from the game but when they asked me to come and help them I didn't want to let them down.

"The players now have to realise what's at stake.

"I know it's going to be tough, we're running out of games, but I'm confident we'll get away from trouble.

"There are plenty of positives, we did well against Glebe on Saturday and should have got something from the game.

"We've changed a few things since I've come in and I cant fault the players at all.

"They've just got into a rut where their confidence is low. If we bring into games what they're producing in training then they'll be fine.

"We have two games in hand on Killymoon and while you'd prefer to have the points it's in our own hands.

"We've some difficult games to play, starting with Queen's tonight.

"They will be confident having got to the semi-finals of the Irish Cup but we have to go and try to compete with them which we're capable of doing.

"If we can get a result against Queen's it could be massive psychologically for us for the remainder of the season."

Also this evening, PSNI can return to the top of the table if they win at Lurgan Celtic.

Moyola Park can move to within a point of Newington with a win at Ballymoney United while Tobermore United and Chimney Corner - locked together on 23 points - meet at Fortwilliam.

Those games are the forerunner for another big weekend in the race for promotion.

On Saturday, PSNI host Killymoon Rangers and Armagh City are at home to Wakehurst.

Annagh United travel to Sport and Leisure Swifts hoping to maintain their brilliant recent form while Queen's have a tough test at Moyola Park.

Newington YC host Glebe, Tobermore go to Lurgan Celtic, Portstewart are away to Ballymoney and Chimney Corner host Banbridge Town.

SPORT AND LEISURE'S REMAINING FIXTURES: Queen's University (a) tonight; Annagh United (h) Saturday; Lurgan Celtic (a) April 22; Ballymoney United (h) April 26; Wakehurst (a) May 3; Chimney Corner (h) May 10 KILLYMOON RANGERS' REMAINING FIXTURES: PSNI (a) Saturday; Lurgan Celtic (h) April 26; Queen's University (h) May 3; Tobermore United (h) May 10


OPTIMISTIC Packie McAllister

GOT THE PAUL, REF Sport and Leisure's Patrick McDonnell in a tussle with Paul Kennoway of Glebe
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Title Annotation:Sport; Opinion Columns
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Apr 15, 2014
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