Match Preview - Ards v Dundela
Lough 41 Championship.
Ards vs Dundela.
Saturday 15th January at 3.00 p.m.
Ards go into this game knowing that the next two games are vital if they are going to rekindle their promotion hopes. Next week they host Annagh on Friday night but first they face a Dundela side full of confidence after their 3-2 Irish Cup win over the Red and Blues at Wilgar Park last Saturday, a victory that was more emphatic than the scoreline would suggest.
The Duns have improved considerably since the arrival of Niall Currie and having been marooned in last place they are now up to tenth and a point ahead of Institute who occupy the play-off place in the relegation zone. Indeed they have only lost once in their last eight league games. Niall is known for his transfer dealings and with the window now open he has already released nine players and has brought in at least four with rumours abounding of more in the pipeline. The most recent acquisition is the loan signing of teenage winger Eoin Teggart from Portadown, Eoin has been capped for Northern Ireland at all levels from Under 16 to Under 19 and he was signed from the Cliftonville Academy by Portsmouth where he spent three years making one first team appearance.
Ards too have been busy in the transfer market, with Gary Donnelly and Joe Tully arriving from Ballyclare, both coming on as substitutes last week and the former scoring a great free kick, albeit too late in the game to influence the outcome. It would be a surprise if both those players don't start the game against Dundela.
Those leaving the club include Kyle Calderwood who has gone to Bangor on loan and Kym Nelson who signed for Ballymena United. Ethan Carry [East Belfast], Aaron Brown [Ards Rangers], Jamie Glover and Dylan O'Kane [both Bangor] have also left the club since the transfer window opened so no doubt John Bailie will be looking at a couple more new faces to boost the promotion challenge.
Although league form has been patchy with only two wins in the last eight, Ards are still in fifth place, only four points behind Ballinamallard who currently occupy the play-off position, so a run of good results could see them back in the picture. However the league is so tight that this applies to any one of half a dozen teams!
John Bailie will certainly be looking for an improved performance against Dundela, he went as far as apologising to Ards fans for the manner of the Cup defeat, which was a particularly disappointing result given the large travelling support on the day.
John and the fans will be hoping for a better performance and result than last week..
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Match Sponsor - The Universal Bootleggers.
Ball Sponsors - One Stop Mortgage Shop, Frances Street, Newtownards and J.McDonald Florist, High Street Newtownards.
Match Officials -
Referee - Mark Dillon.