Newry facing 'mental challenge' - Mullen

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Smyth ready for 'massive' Newry game
Newry City v Glentoran
Date: Friday 1 February Venue: Newry Showgrounds Kick-off: 19:45 BST
Coverage: Latest score, match report and video highlights on BBC Sport website

Newry City's fight to remain in the Irish Premiership will be as much a mental challenge as it is a physical one, says manager Darren Mullen.

Last year's Championship runners up are currently second bottom, 11 points adrift of 10th place Dungannon Swifts.

Mullen's side host Glentoran on Friday having lost their last six league games.

A win for the Glens would see them leapfrog Warrenpoint into eighth place.

Newry have endured a wretched run of form since their last win on 30 November, drawing twice before losing six consecutive league games and exiting the Irish Cup in the fifth round.

Glentoran v Newry City
Glentoran beat Newry 2-1 when the sides met at the Oval on 19 January

A relegation battle presents unchartered territory for Mullen and his side, who won four promotions in the last five seasons since the club's rebirth.

"It is the reverse of what we have been used to for the past five years and it becomes a mental challenge," said Mullen.

"It is a long season and we need to stay in this league by whatever means."

With just seven games remaining until the split, the position of Newry and bottom side Ards looks increasingly bleaks as the gap between them and the other teams in the bottom six continues to increase.

"We need to start winning games," insisted Mullen.

"We cannot rely on Ards to keep getting beat to keep us off the bottom spot, at some point they are going to start winning games."

The Glens tasted defeat for the first time under new boss Gary Smyth against rivals Linfield on Monday.

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