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  • Writer's pictureMichael Barritt


Lough 41 Championship.

Institute vs Ards.

The Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium.

Saturday 28th January at 3.00 p.m.

Ards make the long trek to the North West for the second time this season as they bid to end a run of form that has seen them gain just a single point from the last twelve available. Their opponents appear to be in a similar bad run as they too have only one draw and three defeats from their last four games and are without a win in the Championship since they beat Harland and Wolff Welders on November 19th. However this is football and statistics can be interpreted in different ways because Institute can point to the fact that they are unbeaten at home in the last six games including a win over current League leaders Annagh United in the Irish Cup. Indeed since they lost at home to Annagh in the Championship back in August they have only lost one home game, an enviably consistent run of results.

In spite of that impressive home run Institute find themselves in eighth place with 26 points compared to Ards who sit in fifth with 33 points. However Ards fans who started the season hoping to be involved in a battle for promotion are now more likely to be looking nervously at the League table and wondering if they can hang on to a spot in the top six with the likes of Institute, Ballyclare, Ballinamallard and even the Welders who are on a good run, all eyeing a place in the top half come the split at the end of March.

Institute have the edge over Ards this season, with a 2-0 win at home last October and a 1-1 draw at Clandeboye Park in early December. Ards begin this game as joint leading goalscorers with 44 so far, only Annagh match that total and Ards have a game in hand on Annagh. The problem for the Red and Blues is the number of goals conceded with only two teams conceding more than the 46 Ards have let in.

Manager Matthew Tipton has shuffled the pack a few times in an effort to find a steady combination, so far without much success, it will be interesting to see if recent signing Karl Hamill returns to the starting line-up and even more interesting to see if even more recent signing Christopher McDonald starts after making a brief substitute appearance last week. Conor Scannell, brother of Eamon and recently signed from Glenavon should be available for selection. Ross Hunter who had to be taken off last week after feeling unwell is unlikely to be involved. On the positive side Adam Salley's quickfire double last week were his first goals since his treble at Warrenpoint at the end of November so hopefully he is back on track and can help fire Ards to a much needed three points.

Match Officials :-

Referee :- Gareth Stewart.

1st Assistant :- Gary Ewing.

2nd Assistant :- Ethan Craig.

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