INSTITUTE may have lost 0-6 to a Mark Farren-inspired Derry City on Tuesday night in Drumahoe, but Paul Kee’s total focus has been on the trip to Carrick Rangers for tomorrow’s new season opener. (3.00 p.m.) Relegated from the Premier League last season, Carrick will be expecting to hit the ground running but the ‘Stute boss is equally determined to do well in the Championship this season.
In fact, he was delighted with they way his side’s pre-season had gone and he was equally impressed at the way his playing staff had embraced new structures which have been forced on the Riverside Stadium squad.
Having returned to an amateur set-up, Kee and his coaching staff have retained quite a few of last season’s squad and the players decision to knuckle down and play for the jersey has been particularly noticeable in training.
“I’m really pleased at how things have worked out,” said Key after Tuesday night’s defeat. “The players have applied themselves well, they are putting in a good effort and after impressing me in training and practise matches, I really can’t complain,” he added.
“That said, I’m under no illusions having to travel to Carrick for our opening game on Saturday as it’s going to be a really tough fixture for us.
“There are 10 teams in the Championship and on a given day every one of those teams can compete at a high level.
“Teams such as Bangor, Carrick, Ards and, in particular, Newry City, will be doing all in their power to finish in the top two and secure promotion.
“And we must set the very same targets if we are to progress as a club. We must compete with them all despite our amateur status and given that we will play those very teams during the early stages of the season, our players must aspire to winning those games,” claimed Kee.
Despite the 6-0 defeat by the “Candy Stripes” - Mark Farren netting four goals, setting up the other two and, indeed, forced two of the three Insittute keepers used on the night into a brace to top drawer stops - Kee agreed that tomorrow’s match would look after itself.
“The Derry match has been a useful exercise. We used first choice players for the opening half and made nine changes for the second half, with youth players dominating that squad.
“My job is to now settle on a squad for the Carrick game but I’m happy how things have gone. It’s better getting to know players at this stage of the season, rather than starting to learn six weeks into the campaign.”.
Mark Farren appeared very anxious to impress against Institute and his workrate couldn’t be faulted on the night.
Having set up young Michael Duffy for the opening goal, Farren took advantage of a defensive error to make it 2-0 before Conor Murphy added another on the half hour, Farren having cut the ball back to his strike partner.
After the break, it was more of the same from the Greencastle man who netted another three goals.