DUNDELA V ARDS PREVIEW
Lough 41 Championship.
Dundela vs Ards.
Saturday 9th April at 3.00 p.m.
Ards travel to take on Dundela looking to restore some pride after dropping into the bottom six following last week's defeat at the hands of Dundela's near neighbours Harland and Wolff Welders. The combination of that 4-0 reverse at Blanchflower Park and Dergview's last minute win at Ballinamallard consigned Ards to the bottom half of the table and a fixture list for the rest of the season that contains four away games and a solitary home game against Institute on Easter Tuesday.
This weekend's game will not be easy against a Dundela side that has improved dramatically since the mid season arrival of Niall Currie. Ards have played Saturday's opponents three times in the league this season and won the first game comfortably enough with a 2-0 victory in Bangor last September. Dundela's subsequent improvement saw them reverse that scoreline at Wilgar Park in November and then win 3-1 in Bangor in January, just a week after the controversial Irish Cup game between the two sides that saw Ards progress after an administrative error by the Duns.
Matthew Tipton, recently awarded a two year contract extension, has already said that there will be a major review of the current playing squad, a group that started the season so brightly but failed to maintain that early promise and slowly drifted from top spot in November and looking like a good bet for promotion, to a side that had fans checking to make sure that the relegation play-off place wasn't a mathematical possibility given the run of bad form the team were on!
It remains to be seen whether those players that have demonstrably under performed over the last few months will be given a chance to prove they deserve to be retained, or whether some of the bright young prospects at the club get some game time before the end of the season in a bid to stake a claim for a place in next season's first team squad. Fans will just want to see a bit more conviction and commitment which will hopefully at least keep the team in their present league position and not see them drop to eighth which is their lowest ever position since the league was reconfigurated. Ards are currently five points ahead of Dundela with just five games to go and a full eleven points clear of eighth placed Ballyclare Comraades.
Given the fact that most of the games still to be played are within easy travelling distance and the steep increase in the cost of bus hire, the PASC has taken the pragmatic decision not to arrange transport for the rest of the season.
Match Officials - LOUISE THOMPSON ,ANDREW NETHERY ,BRYAN MAGILL