In this week’s Ulster Gazette, Dale Montgomery, speaks about his return to Holm Park and his ambitions for the club. Get your Ulster Gazette every Tuesday morning for all the reports, interviews and analysis from Holm Park!
No place like Holm!
By Sam Gamble
Returning Armagh City full-back Dale Montgomery has admitted that his experiences in the top flight with Dungannon Swifts has left him thirsty for more with Armagh City.
Despite suffering from a poor run of form, Montgomery believes that the foundations are there to bring Premier League football back to Holm Park.
“There is nothing like playing in front of big crowds in the Premier League and I really enjoyed playing for Dungannon Swifts last season.I firmly believe that we have the foundations at Armagh City to get ourselves in to the top flight in the next few years and we have a few players who have played Premier League football. We have a good blend of youth and experience and while everyone is grounded, I see no reason why it isn’t something we can aspire to.”
Montgomery made the decision to make the move up the A29 in July 2015 and he made over 30 appearances in a what was a topsy-turvy season for the Stangmore Park outfit.
“It was purely because I am an ambitious person that I made the switch. I wanted to give it a go and it was the third time that Dungannon had approached me. They first approached me when we had just won the Championship 2 in 2013/2014 and I just felt it was too big a jump to make at the time. I felt that I needed to build up some more experience in the Championship. In the end I played over 30 games and it was a great experience, but at the start of this season I was suspended and I found it difficult to get back into the team and I just wanted to play football.”
The talented 25 year old, who has represented Northern Ireland in the UEFA Regions’ Cup, admitted there was only one place he wanted to play football after exiting Stangmore Park.
“It was the only option for me to be honest. I have always got on really well with Marty and most of the squad was still the same from when I was last there, so there were no new introductions to make and it was very easy to settle back in again!”
The right-back was an integral part of Marty Rice’s side that won the Bob Radcliffe Cup and the Championship 2 back in 2013/2014 and he has gone from an exciting youth prospect to experienced campaigner in a couple of seasons.
“I think it was Marty’s second season in charge when I came into the first team and we have come a long way since then. Marty had faith in the younger players right from the start and that has started to reap the benefits over the last few years. They now know what the league is about and what it takes to get results in this league.
Montgomery admitted that City are going through a difficult period at present, but he was adamant that brighter days can be just around the corner!
“Looking at the table there isn’t that big of a gap between Warrenpoint Town at the top and the team down at the bottom! It is such a tight league and a couple of wins can really see you jump up a few places very quickly. The league is so competitive and I really don’t think any team will be able to go on a five or six game winning streak. Every team is going to go through a bad patch and unfortunately for us, we are having one at the moment.”
Larne are next on the agenda for City this Saturday and Montgomery admitted that any points won in the Championship are going to be a real battle.
“Wins can come out of anywhere in this league, but we know that if we are going to turn the corner then we are going to have to grind a 1-0 or a 2-1 win out. With such a small squad we have had to bring in a few younger players and once we get a few of our players back from injury and suspension then we will get a couple of wins and start to really push on.”