Tuesday, 6 March 2018

‘PREM SURVIVAL IS KEY’ thumbnailFORMER Warrenpoint Town player Stephen McDonnell is the club’s new manager following Matthew Tipton’s decision to leave for Championship side Portadown.

NEW Warrenpoint Town manager Stephen McDonnell insists that he wants to put his own stamp on the team but admits that doing too much too soon is not the right approach given the clubs position in the Premiership table.

McDonnell was appointed after former Matthew Tipton left by mutual consent to join Bluefin Championship side Portadown.

Tipton had managed the club back into Premiership last season but the opportunity to manage a club he played for and has much affinity to, was too good an opportunity to turn down.

Likewise for McDonnell, since being forced to into early retirement as a player, management was something he was always going to get into, but the Warrenpoint appointment made by chairman Connaire McGreevy, was a chance he couldn't pass.

"I suppose this this was more of a longer term picture. I started of young as a coach, so I was always going to be a young manager when I started and it has probably come a year or two early but I wouldn't brush away the challenge," said McDonnell.

"I want to make this a permanent fixture but the obstacle in the way has been the one task I have and that is to finish the job off and keep us in the League."

Warrenpoint Town are currently in tenth position in the 12-team Dankse Bank Premiership League. They are seven points ahead of bottom side Ballinamallard United and only four points clear of the relegation/ promotion play-off position of Carrick Rangers.

"It is important for us that we established some stability in the club because we have had a cagey couple of years as the last time we stayed in the Premiership we hung on by the skin of our teeth and then we went to Championship last year and won it so the importance of staying up is vital for the club," McDonnell said.

"Its importance is in terms of developing the club and developing the team and becoming established within the Irish Premiership."

Warrenpoint Town are a home to Dungannon Swifts on Saturday in what will be a tough contest but much like his predecessor, the new manager wants his team to hit the ground running.

"We have to try and get something from every game and we need to get off to a good start and Dungannon is first so we need to come up with a game-plan and implement a style that we want to play in order to get a result. Hopefully we can do that and hopefully the lads realise what we are trying to do from week one.

"We will try and organise ourselves on way that will get something from the game one way or another." coach and the new Point boss is happy with the panel of players he has to work with.

"I have spent the last few days establishing a team that I want around me and I am taking on a squad that is already there and it is a good squad and it is real capable of staying up," McDonnell said.

"We have top quality right across our squad and I will be delivering that message to the players.

"Normally managers complain about the squad not being their own but the lads will know me and I know them and I feel I can get the best out of them. It might be that I see them playing elsewhere than they have done so far. It is a short window of eight weeks so it is not a long time to get our message across.

"But we got to make the most of it. I have to get my ideas across as quickly and clear as I can in the best coaching format possible and I hope the players can take on what we are saying.

Of course we will have to say why we are changing things and it is up to us to sell the product."

Warrenpoint captain Stevie Moan spoke highly of the club's new manager as he looked ahead to this Saturday's game against Dungannon Swifts at Q Radio Arena at Milltown.

"This is a big game for us as we have only eight games left of the season and we need to get ourselves safe and ensure we are in the Premiership next year," he said.

"Dungannon at home is a team we can most definitely take points off. We have played Dungannon a few times already this season and we have narrowly lost by a goal in each of these games.

Hopefully we can get a bit of luck this time around and get the win.

"We know it will be a tough game as they are a well organised team who play neat and attacking football.

"They have also strengthened their team with Daniel Hughes, who we all know is a threat. Carrick recently got the win over Dungannon, so there is no reason why we can't do the same.

"There is now four points between ourselves and Carrick, so it is vital that we pick up points in this game.

"We shall go into this game with plenty of confidence and take the game to them.

"There's new manager and a new start with Stevie McDonnell in charge. Stevie will implement his style of play. We all trust and have confidence in what he will be asking from us and hopefully we get the result we need this Saturday.

"We encourage our fans to get to the Q Radio Arena this Saturday and help cheer us on.

"We will need all the support we can get as we try to push on in the final eight games."


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