Chris Parker hoping Armagh can bounce back at Highfield

Armagh host second-placed Highfield at the Palace Grounds and coach Chris Parker knows his side have to start winning if they want to be in contention for the promotion playoffs.

Armagh are sixth after last week’s defeat at Old Wesley and seven points of fourth spot.

It was familiar problems that plagued Armagh at Donnybrook and Parker revealed there were a few “honest conversations” afterwards.

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“Unfortunately, it is the same messages every week and we haven’t fixed our ways just yet,” said Parker.

Armagh coach Chris Parker

“There were few honest conversations after the game about what we need to do to improve because we can’t keep saying the same things every week.

“If we really want to push on and challenge, we need to be taking scalps like that, we did create chances against Wesley but we certainly didn’t take them where as Wesley on the other hand were very clinical.

“The two tries back-to-back were a stinger for us, then just before half time we butchered an opportunity right on their line and that maybe swung momentum towards them at the start of the second half, and you just can’t give good sides like that opportunities.

“We’re just making poor decisions and poor decisions around our discipline, which means we give teams a foothold in our 22 by giving away penalties.

“There has been a big focus on our discipline this week and making sure we take more pride when we have the ball and making sure we have the ball in the right areas and not over playing our hand too much, we’ll be looking a reaction this weekend.”

Parker is hoping the side can turn chances into points against Highfield.

“When we play Highfield they are usual very tight encounters,” he said. “We gave a good account of ourselves down there but just couldn’t break them down. They were a extremely well-drilled defence then they just took their opportunities.

“We are certainly hopeful of producing a really good performance and seeing were it takes us, but we’re under no illusion that Highfield and Wesley are the two favourites for the league, so to get a scalp and get a win and get four points on the board would be massive because we need to start climbing the table again.

James Hanna and Romain Morrow are both injured but captain Chris Colvin returns to the match day squad.

Malone are four points above the relegation playoff zone, Wilbur Leacock’s side are on the road to Shannon.

“We have a decent team out for Shannon,” said Leacock.

“It has been a good positive start to 2022 for us, we had a good result against Banbridge in the Senior Cup,.

“It was a good performance last week and we were disappointed we didn’t beat St Mary’s.

“We probably didn’t deserve a draw before Christmas against St Mary’s and they deserved a win and it was vice versa last Saturday we deserved to win but they grinded out a draw.”

Ulster winger Aaron Sexton is for the trip, while lock Adam McNamee starts.

Two consecutive wins for ninth placed Banbridge has saw Mark McDowell’s team close the gap to four points on Malone.

Leaders Old Wesley travel to Rifle Park.

In Division 1A Ballynanhinch have mounting injury problems as they look for their first win of the campaign as fourth placed Terenure visit Ballymacarn Park.