Institute vs Ards.
Wednesday December 26th at 3.00 p.m.
There is nothing like a local derby at holiday time, and this is nothing like a local derby! Ards fans face a round trip of over 160 miles, their longest journey of the season if they want to see the Red and Blues play at Brandywell for the first time in decades.
Institute have been in fine goalscoring form recently with 3-3 draws against Glentoran and Glenavon and a 6-4 home win against Cliftonville while Ards were losing against Coleraine, Cliftonville and Ballymena with only an own goal to their credit. From being one of the sides touted as relegation possibles, Stute are looking for a top six place and with top scorer Michael McCrudden in lethal form, why not?
Our previous meeting this season ended in a last minute winner for Institute at Bangor Fuels Arena so Ards will be looking for revenge and some points to help them begin a climb that will hopefully take them off the foot of the league table.
To do that someone will have to find their shooting boots as goals have been a scarce commodity for Ards fans this season. Team selection for Colin Nixon will be along the usual lines, with youthful centre back pairing of Byers and McAleenan trying to curb the goal threat from McCrudden and co in the absence of the recently retired David Elebert and the injured Johnny Taylor.
There will be no bus going to this one, given the prohibitive cost of hiring transport on a public holiday, so thanks in advance to those that will make the journey to cheer on the team.