Sproule believes stage is set for a festive cracker

DERGVIEW boss Ivan Sproule believes all the ingredients are in place for a festive cracker against neighbours Ballinamallard United at Darragh Park later today.

The home side go into the eagerly-anticipated clash on the back of a crucial 2-1 victory over relegation rivals Limavady United while the Mallards are also in fine fettle having defeated league leaders Larne.

Following that victory the Ducks have their sights set on gate-crashing the top-six party while another three points for the Castlederg outfit could lift them off bottom spot.

The homesters are now unbeaten in three and the visitors won’t need reminding that in the corresponding fixture at Ferney Park back in August Dergview ran out convincing 4-1 winners.

Sproule insists both teams are going into the game under an element of pressure.

“For us it’s another big game and we’ll want to keep the run going,” he said.

“I keep reminding the players that we are still under water and that means this is another vital game.

“It’s a derby match and we won’t get any more points for beating Ballinamallard than any other opposition, or likewise the other way about.

“There is an element of pressure for both teams. Dergview drew first blood under Peter (Allen) earlier in the season and I suppose Ballinamallard will have a point to prove.”

For the first time since taking over, Sproule can report a clean bill of health with defender Lee McNulty returning to the squad after serving suspension.

The manager has also been impressed by how his players have upped their game in recent weeks which produced draws against Larne and Ballyclare Comrades before that crucial win over the Roesiders.

The recent resurgence leaves Dergview just a point behind second bottom Limavady and Sproule said he and his players were looking froward to the Boxing Day showdown.

He’s not the only one. All roads will lead to Darragh Park on Wednesday and the Championship clash is sure to draw a bumper holiday crowd.

“It’s possibly got the potential to be one of the biggest gates Dergview have ever had,” added Sproule.

“I can recall big Boxing Day crowds at Darragh Park and this could be bigger than the lot given the position both teams find themselves in.

“There is plenty of spice and aside from the supporters of both clubs, it offers plenty for the neutral.

“It’s a game everyone is looking forward to, that’s for sure.

“In terms of the squad. we’re in a good place. Big Lee will be available again and me and Neil will take everything into consideration before selecting the squad.

“The boys have been working extremely hard on their fitness levels and that is beginning to really pay off.

“We’ll have three training sessions before then and we’ll take it from there.”


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