Davy McAlinden is not behind the door when it comes to saying what he thinks, so it’s not an empty threat when he warns each of his players that performances and attitude in the last three games of the season will decide their fate with Larne FC.
If he’s feeling more than a little frustrated, the manager can be forgiven because he was motivating his team to give their all to ensure the supporters would have something to cheer about in the last home game of the season – and they were battered 3-0.
And, while it would be fair to say that it was not a hammering in the normal sense, the scoreline hurts all the more because they spurned more than enough chances to win the match, even allowing for the fact that the goals conceded were eminently preventable.
“The first half especially was very disappointing. A few things were said at half-time, things which will stay in the dressing room, and things were a bit better in the second half. But the bottom line is that the overall performance was not acceptable,” McAlinden told the Times.
“Over the course of the game we had plenty of opportunities to score but the goals we needed just did not come – and we pretty much gifted them three goals.
“People have now been left in no doubt about what is expected of them and it’s up to each one of them to convince us that they should be part of our plans for next season.
“However, that’s not to say that anything has changed really, other than that they are running out of games to do so. Since we came in we have been assessing the relative strengths of players, both via their performances on the pitch and their attitudes off it.
“We have three more games and we want a big finish because, while we are long since safe from the relegation threat, the fact is that we want to accumulate as many points as possible in the table – that’s the whole idea of a league format.
“We have no match on Saturday but we have a tough assignment on Tuesday night, a trip to Clandeboye Park to play Bangor, who still harbour ambitions at the top end of the table, followed by games against a strong Loughgall side and a Coagh United team which is desperately battling against the drop.
“Last weekend, with five or six players still not available through injury, we had just the bare eleven on the pitch and three 16-year-olds on the bench.
“We might have one more player available for the trip to Bangor but that would be the height of it.
“But it is the first of three chances for the players to show what they are made of and I am insisting that they should make the best of it. We have standards which were set when we arrived at the club and we won’t accept performance dropping below them,” assured the Inver manager.