Sports

Euro play-offs here we come!

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

WITH three wins in seven days under their belts and a European play-off position all but secured, Dungannon Swifts manager Rodney McAree is hoping to maintain their late season bounce into the play-offs.

A 4-0 win over Carrick has left Ards needing a mathematical miracle to overhaul the Stangmore men in seventh, and it follows hot on the heels of a fine 4-1 win at Ballinamallard win in midweek and a last gasp 2-1 triumph at home to Glentoran the previous Saturday.

The Swifts had their work done early on Saturday, racing to a 4-0 lead inside 37 minutes.

And Rodney was pleased with his side's fast start.

"We were looking a professional approach at the start of the day, we were looking to make sure we did things properly and we did that.

"I thought we were very good. To score two goals in the first seven minutes, we then gave ourselves a platform to go on and build on.

"We played on the front foot and in the first half we scored four and could have had more. We've hit the crossbar and had a couple of other good opportunities as well. We're delighted.

"What you hope at half time when you're winning 4-0 that you go out and perform to the same levels but it's very hard to do that.

"I thought it did fizzle out a wee bit but it was important from our point of view to try to keep the clean sheet and we never really looked in any threat of conceding a goal."

Rodney acknowledged that, while they are not mathematically guaranteed seventh and a European play-off tie against whomever finishes fourth, which will be either Ballymena or Cliftonville, it would take some turnaround to deny them.

"It was all about trying to get the three points that gives us that gap over Ards and makes it impossible for Glentoran to catch us.

"We've achieved that and, barring an unbelievable turnaround, we're probably going to guarantee ourselves that seventh spot and hopefully off the back of that we'll have the play-offs to look forward to."

WIth the players seeming to have hit form at an ideal time, the Swifts will round off their league campaign with a home clash against already relegated Portadown, and Rodney is hoping they can pick up a fourth consecutive win and enter the play-offs in fine fettle.

"It's important we try to keep the momentum going and go to Portadown next week and build on the last three performances and results.

"It would be nice to finish the season with another three points, which would take us above 50 and it's been six or seven seasons since we've had 50 points, so it would be nice to break 50.

"That'll be our target for next week and if we acquit ourselves properly then we have all the capabilities in the world of doing that."

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