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Pooling power

Barry Gray admitted he took a risk when he gave his players a night away from the training pitch in the build up to yesterday’s Danske Bank Premiership victory over Warrenpoint Town.

First-half goals from Jude Winchester and Chris Curran stretched the Reds’ winning run to five matches, with the Manager afterwards revealing that the squad had spent Thursday night recuperating at the end of another busy week.

“It wasn’t a night off – I wouldn’t be a fan of dishing those out,” he explained.

“We went to the pool just to prepare for the game and I told the players it would be the first and last time if they didn’t win, so they’ve delivered and they might get another one sometime, who knows?

“They have worked very hard recently and, after putting in a serious shift to beat Linfield last week, they were back in for training on Monday night, had the game against PSNI on the Tuesday and, because of that, we had a night away on Thursday.

“It wasn’t a great game but it was job done and you can’t really complain with two goals, a clean sheet and three points in a game that we were always comfortable in.

“We were in control without being brilliant and we did what we needed to do to win. When you go 1-0 up so early on, you’re thinking ‘right, here we go, let’s see if we can build on that’ rather than ‘let’s see if we can hold onto it’, which is something we’ve been working on.

“I was pleased to get the Linfield result out of our system because, as people so often say, those games take care of themselves. It’s the ones like this that you need to make sure you don’t slip up in. We’ve got the win and it’ll be good to have a full week of training without any midweek match in the build-up to facing Glentoran – there’ll be no pool this week.”