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Irish Cup R6 Preview

Clearer Water Irish Cup.

Institute vs Ards F.C

Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium.

Saturday February 3rd at 3.00 p.m.

Ards travel to renew rivalry with Institute just a week after they shared the spoils in a 2-2 draw at Clandeboye Park. That game finished with a late equaliser for 'Stute, a slight change from the two previous league encounters this season where late goals gave Institute victory on both occasions.

Both teams are hoping to progress to the last eight and get a favourable draw, Institute if successful will be hoping for a fifth consecutive home draw in this competition, while a successful Ards side would be hoping for home advantage for the first time in two seasons. Although the home side will seem to have the edge based on results so far this season, Ards proved in the last round that anything is possible in Cup football when they knocked out the holders Crusaders on their own Seaview pitch by virtue of penalty kicks after a committed display for 120 minutes under the interim management of Daryl Phillips and Paul Kee.

Institute have reached this stage by beating Crumlin Star 2-0 after extra time in the last round. Last season saw the home side knock out Annagh 4-0 in their opening match before losing at this stage when Ballyclare beat them 1-0, Ards fans will remember losing 3-1 at Premier League outfit Dungannon Swifts in their opening game in last year's competition.

Institute warmed up for this game by playing a friendly match against Derry City on Wednesday night. They lost 3-0 but a quick look at the side shows that four of the starting eleven also started against Ards and five others who got game time against Ards also got game time against Derry City so it was not by any means a reserve squad.

John Bailie, who takes charge of his third game in his second spell in the Ards hot seat, has wasted no time during the transfer window, adding to what was for various reasons a reduced panel, with a mix of youth and experience which will offer him options in defence, midfield and attack. It remains to be seen how many of the new recruits will be involved. Some will be cup-tied, some may not be match fit but regardless of that, the team that played last week showed that they are a match for the table toppers with a hard working, disciplined display and some good football on show and as already pointed out anything can happen on the day.

Ards fans are expected to travel in numbers hoping to see the spirit that carried the team through against the holders in the last round before they turn their attention to the serious matter of picking up League points, starting with a North Down derby on Friday 9th away to Bangor.

The PASC are running a bus to this one which leaves Gibson's Lane at 12.15 p.m but it is fully booked, so if you haven't already reserved your seat you will need to make alternative arrangements.

Match Officials :- Unavailable at the time of writing.

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