IRISH LEAGUE: Second place has to be Institute’s aim

Institutes Niall Grace celebrates with team-mate Michael McCrudden, after scoring at Warrenpoint Town.
Institutes Niall Grace celebrates with team-mate Michael McCrudden, after scoring at Warrenpoint Town.

Institute manager Kevin Deery believes their next two fixtures against the PSNI and Loughgall are the most important of their season as the Championship campaign draws to a close.

With four league matches remaining - two at home and two away - Deery wants to pick up maximum points from those games at the Riverside Stadium.

Currently sitting three points ahead of the PSNI and a point behind second placed Ballyclare Comrades, Deery knows a win this weekend against the Police would set them up nicely for their remaining three matches.

“Our next two games are at home to the PSNI and Loughgall and they are the most important games for us,” he insisted.

“Obviously if we beat PSNI it gives us a bit of breathing space and we are still desperately trying to finish runners-up in the division. We are still capable of doing that, so that has to be our main aim.”

Deery is expecting a tough clash against James Kirk’s side, who visit the Druamhoe this Saturday, fresh from an impressive win over Ballyclare last weekend.

“They will definitely come up with a plan,” he added.

“But I just have to highlight that we have been very good recently, we have scored 13 goals in four games.

“We were desperately unlucky that we didn’t get anything at Warrenpoint. I think overall we probably deserved something, but it’s gone.”

“We have an opportunity now to play a rival, who has emerged out of the pack and when someone tries to compete against you and be a rival to you, then you have to step up and show them that you want it more, simple as that.

“That has to be our mindset this week.”

Both Niall Grace and Ryan Morrow miss out, but Deery is hoping their replacements step up.

“Niall is suspended and Ryan is unavailable, so they are the two losses, but my mindset is still the same, it’s up to other people then to step up,” he said.

“We are a team who I feel can afford to lose people, the squad has been reshuffled and tweaked most of the season. Different people have played and they have all done as well as each other.

“We have had probably three or four real stand out performers all season, but everyone else has done a good job and it’s an opportunity for more people to do it against the PSNI, on Saturday.”