Manager Duke prepared for a real dogfight to beat the dreaded drop

Gary Duke.
Gary Duke.

With a minimum of four clubs automatically relegated this season Dollingstown manager Gary Duke is predicting a real dogfight for points in Championship 2.

Having enjoyed a rewarding first season in Irish League football and achieving their target of avoiding the drop, it will be an even tougher campaign this time around.

“This season is a massive year for all the teams in Championship 2 with four possibly five going down,” says Duke.

“We have let four players go and brought in five. I think these guys will improve us and as long as they settle in quickly we can hit the ground running.

“So far our pre-season has went reasonably well. The boys are working hard but it is tough to keep things flowing with people on holidays.

“I’m happy with the preparation, but don’t think it’s going to be any easier than last season, maybe even harder because no-one wants to be caught up in what will be dog fight.

“As long as everyone sticks together, works very hard, I think the football ability we have will take over. This season there needs to be a real togetherness and fighting spirit to be able to succeed and importantly survive.”

The opening fixture is away to Limavady United who just missed out on promotion back to Championship 1 last year and who have added even more quality from Ballymena and Coleraine and they will be favourities for promotion this year.

Dollingstown finished a very respectable seventh last year and the target is to try and break into the top six.