Gaston takes United reins

BACK IN BUSINESS...New Ballymoney United manager Paul Gaston.

BACK IN BUSINESS...New Ballymoney United manager Paul Gaston.

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NEW Ballymoney United boss Paul Gaston says he has the players to fire the club to promotion this season.

The ex-Coleraine star - who turned out 600 times during a 20 year career with the Bannsiders - was appointed last week along with former team-mate Ronnie McDowell who has been installed as his assistant.

He replaces Joe McCall whose five year tenure at Ballymoney ended last month following relegation to Championship Two last season and a disappointing start to the current campaign.

Despite United’s lowly league position at present, Gaston says he is certain there is enough quality in the camp to turn the club’s fortunes around.

And he says promotion to Championship One is still a realistic ambition.

“I’ve played under a lot of good managers and you pick things up from them,” the 37-year-old former Coleraine skipper told Times Sport.

“I didn’t know Joe had left until about five days later and didn’t think any more about it.

“Then I saw the advert inviting applications and I thought I might as well go for it.

“It’s a good start for me.

“Before I did anything I asked Ronnie because you have to have people in place if you are going for a job.

“Ronnie agreed to come in with me which was a good thing.

“We’ve both experienced the playing side of things and hopefully we can pass that down to the boys we have at the minute.”

He continued: “I had them for two nights training and they are excellent. I can’t understand why they are where they are in the league.

“But there is still a chance of getting promoted.

“Three or four wins and we are up there.

“I want the players to enjoy it, be comfortable on the ball and enjoy playing football.

“I couldn’t believe the standard the first couple of nights at training.

The tempo has been absolutely unbelievable and if we can take that out to the pitch on Saturdays we will be okay.

“Everyone’s attitude has been spot on and I’m looking forward to it.

“As long as the players give 110% on a Saturday that’s all you can ask for.

“If you get beat by a better team you can’t do anything about it, as long as you go down fighting.

“I’ve heard they have been playing really well but just haven’t been getting the reward they maybe deserve.

“As soon as you get a change in the rub of the green it will come along.”

Paul had been with the youth set-up at the club and is hugely impressed with how the club is Ballymoney United is run throughout the ranks.

“The facilities are superb, the best in this area,” he said.

“I don’t think Coleraine has facilities like Ballymoney.

“The Joey Dunlop Centre is excellent, we have everything.

“We just need to get a football team now the town can be proud of.

“We want to win matches and play good football.

“If I’ve a team of players knuckling down and giving it their all that’s all I can ask for.

“Ballymoney has a good set up in the youths and that is what it’s all about, bringing local players through.

“We have a good mix of youth and experience in the squad.

“Having played myself I know winning breeds confidence and as soon as you get your first win, you get your second win and so on, that’s what happens.

“It’s just getting that first win on the board and once we get that you’ll maybe see a big step up.

“A positive attitude is everything.

“The good thing is Ronnie and myself have played at the highest standard here and hopefully our experience can help get them up the table a bit.”