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  • Writer's pictureStuart Dellow


Lough 41 Championship.

Ards vs Harland and Wolff Welders.

Clandeboye Park.

Saturday 11th February at 3.00 p.m.

Ards take on a Welders side who are on a great run of form that has seen them win five of their last six league games while also winning away from home at Premiership sides Newry and Glenavon in the Irish Cup, earning themselves a plum home tie in the quarter finals against Larne. This is a real upturn for a team that before this run started had only one win in the previous eight and were flirting with the relegation zone. Paul Kee's side, [the other Paul Kee!], now sit in eighth place just five points behind Ards, although they have played one game more than the Red and Blues.

In contrast Ards have struggled to put a run together and since beating Newington on December 10th they haven't won a league game, with only two points from the 15 available since that win, they were also knocked out of the Irish cup by Dungannon Swifts.

Maintaining their place in the top six is a priority for Ards with hopes of involvement in the promotion chase only a mathematical possibility at this stage. The Welders will also have their eyes on breaking into the top six so it should be a competitive encounter. The Welders recent improvement has a lot to do with the goalscoring form of Matthew Ferguson who has notched 14 so far, he has been ably supported by two players well known to Ards fans, Michael McLellan with 11 and Jonny Frazer who appears to have overcome early season injury problems and has chipped in with four goals.

Ards do hold the advantage over the Welders so far this season with a 2-0 opening day win followed by a conclusive 5-2 win in mid November, both those games at Blanchflower Park, but those games will count for nothing given the respective run of recent results.

Ards fans will be looking to see if new signing Conor Scannell, who came from Glenavon, will make his home debut having come on as a late substitute in last week's draw away to Institute, fans will also be interested to see what combination the manager chooses in defence, with recent signings competing for a starting place, whatever his selection they will have to be alert to stifle the goal threat from the Welders front line.

Match Sponsor :- Councillor Steven Irvine.

Ball Sponsor :- Albert Boal Quality Butcher, Movilla Road, Newtownards.

Match Officials :-

Referee :- Glenn Buchanan.

1st Assistant :- Aaron Graham.

2nd Assistant :- Lauren Trainor.

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