Niall Currie counts contract stability as key after Carrick Rangers' Premiership return
Niall Currie is celebrating his weekend Carrick Rangers contract extension as the reward of stability for a whirlwind rise over the past 12 months.
Having arrived last May, following an exit from hometown club Portadown, with Rangers still reeling from relegation, Currie proved the architect behind Carrick's climb up the second-tier standings that culminated in a rapid return to the senior stage via promotion play-off glory.
Now the most successful manager outside the Irish League's top flight is preparing for continued progress against the odds by preserving Carrick's Danske Bank Premiership status next season.
The work of Currie and his backroom team this summer can operate under the fresh foundation of a contract boost the boss hopes to serve as the platform for those future plans.
"To work under a chairman and officials with such a show of belief means so much and the offer of another extension to 2020/21 came out of the blue during weekend talks over our budget," said Currie. "To have that stability now moving forward sends out the right message to everyone, in terms of helping to re-sign the players at this club and attracting others.
"With so many clubs now either full-time or in the process of moving towards that direction, we know it is about operating next season in a league within a league but the full backing of those at Carrick allows us to move forward from a position of strength.
"We want to bring in five or six players if possible with experience of top-flight football but, crucially, last season's journey was built on a squad of young and hungry players with a real desire.
"We need to keep those qualities to make sure we can prove competitive next season and beyond.
"The work put into bringing together the Academy and youth players has already helped to benefit the club's firsts and having a group full of energy is crucial.
"We face a massive task next season but there is a realism around the club about what we are doing and you only need to look at the sensational crowds for our play-off games to appreciate the strength everyone is able to draw from that level of backing.
"We must expect some difficult days next season back in the Premiership but I view the contract extension as a massive show of faith in the work to date and our plans for the future."