Colin Malone and his players may have enjoyed last weekend’s break but the Lurgan Celtic manager is determined to maximise every minute of this first season in NIFL Championship One.
Last season’s NIFL Championship Two winners remain unbeaten after three fixtures - thanks to a 3-3 draw with Donegal Celtic, single-goal success against Loughgall and share of the spoils from a trip to face Ards.
Saturday’s blank date allowed everyone an opportunity to relax and reflect on the opening few weeks of life in the Irish League’s second tier before switching focus to the next league test this weekend at home to Knockbreda.
“It has been a solid start and to remain unbeaten is a boost for everyone,” said Malone. “We were disappointed to have only picked up a point from the last match against Ards based on our performance against such a strong side.
“Any victory in this division is a great result, with away wins considered a real bonus.
“In that regard, it was a great result at Loughgall.
“Knockbreda have made a good start to the season and signed quite a few but everyone will be looking forward to the match.
“We gave everyone the weekend off but got back to the hard work this week.”
Kick-off against Knockbreda will be 3 o’clock.
“It is about preparing in the right way and putting 100 per cent into every game,” said Malone. “That is the only way to survive at this level and the plan is to build up some momentum and put together a consistent run of positive results,
“It is important that those of us with experience of this level draw on that to help bring everyone forward together, especially during any difficult times.
“It is about stability this first season then rebuilding towards our long-term progress.
“However, it starts with pushing as hard as possible to improve all the time.
“There is always room for improvement and we know we must play to the highest possible level to stay in this division.
“We cannot expect the same number of wins as last season but it is vital that, when we do hit a bad patch, everyone sticks together as a group.
“That is when those with experience can stay calm and not allow others to get too negative.
“The players are certainly showing signs of making that adjustment.”
Lurgan Celtic have signed James Doyle, a former player with the club’s youth set-up.