Sports

’Point back to big time

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

’Point back to big time thumbnail THE Warrenpoint Town squad and management are looking forward to the start of a new season.

WARRENPOINT Town's return to the Irish Premiership starts at 5.30pm on Saturday when the Seasiders take on Glenavon at Milltown.

In 2016 the Point were relegated due to a disgraceful refereeing decision on the last day of the season but this year the Town walked the Championship and cruised back into the Premiership.

Can they avoid the drop or perhaps win a major trophy in the 2017/18 season?

The Democrat spoke to manager Matthew Tipton before Saturday's match against Comber Rec. But the boss wasn't making any rash promises as he said: "Time will tell. The proof is in the pudding. We've 38 league games to play and the judgment will be made when we finish our league programme.

"I'm happy with the squad. I feel that the additions we've made have improved us. And the boys who were here have improved considerably over the last year. But judgment will come when we win matches."

Can Warrenpoint win a trophy? Tipton answered: "Our first target is to win matches. If we win enough matches we'll take it from there. I'd love a decent cup run - for numerous reasons - the exposure it will give the club and the prize money. We're running on a small budget so we're targeting a decent cup run.

"We want to attract more fans to the game and there's only one or two ways to do that; win football matches and win them well. Win them attractively by playing the right style of football. And hopefully the people who come to watch will agree with my style.

We want to play with possession, penetration and pace. That's my ethos." On some of the players who left the club recently, Tipton said: "Liam Bagnall is a massive miss for us. He was an inspirational leader. I thought he was magnificent from the day I walked through the door. I wanted Liam to be made captain and he was. He was superb and I didn't want to lose him to Cliftonville. But that's what happens in football.

"We haven't directly replaced him because I don't believe there's another midfielder in the country that can play the Liam Bagnall way. I do believe he's the best, We have replaced him with someone who can do a similar job but in a different way. We have brought in Neil McCafferty, TJ Murray and Sean Mackle. We haven't replaced Liam Bagnall with another Liam Bagnall but we have replaced him with someone we feel can do a job for the team.

"John McGuigan added pace and energy to the team.

We have brought Martin Murray in to do that job.

Sean Mackle can also play that role but he's suspended for the first couple of games. Sean makes tremendous runs. He's not as quick as John but he still gets to the ball with strong runs. And he'll end up in goal-scoring positions.

He's a different type of player but we want the same end result. We want our mid-field players scoring goals." Speaking of the front two Stephen and Darren Murray Tipton said: "Darren Murray might have scored 25 goals two years ago but he's with a different team now and in different circumstances. But we have been really impressed with both boys pre-season.

Stephen Murray has worked hard and has scored goals. He got a tremendous header against Portadown while Darren has continually scored goals over the whole pre-season. And we have Conor McMenamin who got plenty of goals last year and then there's Martin Murray.

"I wouldn't burden two players to get 50 goals between them. We would like to spread the goals about. Still as long as we're getting goals, I wouldn't mind 20 people scoring five each. Although obviously people will be looking at Darren and Stephen and wondering if they can get close to the 20 mark and I'll be looking at that myself as it makes my job a little bit easier.

On the new chairman Connaire McGreevy, Tipton said: "I get on fine with him but you can ask him how he gets on with me. The whole board who took over have been brilliant with me. And with Barry (Gray) leaving, it meant my relations with Connaire, Brian Reid, Mickey McGivern, Michael Gray and Johnny Bird has got tighter and closer, as previously I only dealt with Barry.

"I do think we've got a good working relationship. I like the guys personally; they're good people. They're helping me and it enables me to go out, do the coaching side of it and manage the football team.

They 're looking after everything off the field.

"Connaire is a young, enthusiastic man who is a successful businessman. He wants that same success for this football club and hopefully I can be the one who will deliver it for him.

"I'm loving working with him and indeed all the people behind the scenes," concluded Matthew Tipton.

Stephen Moan: We're staying up NEWLY appointed club captain Stephen Moan, a man of few words but plenty of action and endeavour, spoke to the Democrat saying: "The first couple of games will be tight. To survive is the main thing." Stephen continued: "It's a big honour to be captain of any club but particularly in the Premiership. I pleased that the manager has faith in me to do the job." The tough-tackling dynamo has played in quite a few roles for the club - all back four positions and midfield but he said, he's not worried where he plays as long as he starts.

In conclusion the skipper voices the opinion of all at Milltown when said: "We 're definitely going to stay up."

Warrenpoint Town players out: Liam Bagnall, John McGuigan, Aaron Traynor, Darren King, Ruairi Coskery, Stephen Maguire and Dermot Mc-Veigh.

Players in: Darren Murray, Marty Murray, TJ Murray, Neil McCaffrey, Seanna Foster, Sean Mackle, Luke Fisher, Alan Blayney, Matty Parker, Darius Roohi, Danny Wallace and Dale McCreary.

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